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Silicon Valley's Worst Nightmare: Could Apple Face Unionization?

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For decades, labor unions have been an effective way for skilled and unskilled labor to organize and negotiate with large corporations over compensation, benefits, and working conditions. From automobile manufacturing to hotel cleaning, there are many unions that operate in a multitude of sectors.

Silicon Valley has been ubiquitously absent, however, in the proliferation of labor unions. One Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) employee is hoping to change that.

According to a Reuters report, "Cory Moll, a part-time employee at an Apple store in San Francisco, is working to form a union to fight for better wages and benefits and to address what he says are unfair practices in the company's glass-and-steel retail showrooms."

"The core issues definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits," Moll said.

With 30,000 retail employees around the world in more than 300 stores, the possibility of unionization could justifiably scare Apple management. Labor costs would undoubtedly increase if union efforts succeed, and retail profit would take a hit.

Why have technology companies been able to escape the grasp of unionization? Many point toward the industry's ability to move quickly toward new trends, adding or shedding employees as necessary. Further, the shear size of many companies - including Apple with a $300 billion market capitalization - allow many to quash any meaningful union efforts if they pop up.

"It's kind of a feeling of David versus Goliath," Moll admitted to Reuters.

It appears that few people have publicly shown Moll support, though he does receive e-mails of encouragement.

In all likelihood, this is probably as far as Moll's effort will get. Until a greater percentage of employees publicly express being wronged by Apple, no significant union effort will arise.

Still, the publicity of Moll's effort could be enough for Apple to reexamine its current labor practices. The company has produced exceptional profits for its shareholders, and its retail employees certainly deserve a piece of the pie.

How big the slice will be remains to be determined.

Posted-In: labor unionMovers & Shakers General

 

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