Employees at the US’s first unionized Apple store want to start accepting tips from customers.
The staffers at Apple’s Towson, Md., location were the first to unionize when they formed The Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE) in 2022.
The labor union is in talks with Apple about a tipping system in which customers paying with a card would be prompted to tip 3%, 5%, a custom amount or none at all upon checkout, reported.
Tips would be available to the store’s employees on all transactions, which would throw out Apple’s current policy where Apple employees who accept a tip are fired.
CORE clarified its plans for the “controversial” tipping scheme in a Twitter thread on Thursday.
“We do not see tips as a major way of generating income,” CORE wrote.
CORE tweeted that it instead sought to “create an acceptable system that allows the occasional customer the ability to reward our team for their hard work” without the possibility of its members losing their jobs.
Nevertheless, the stratospheric prices of items for sale at Apple stores, running in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars — and the high cost of repairing items at the Genius Bar — point to tips of $20 and up.
The tipping proposal is just part of the negotiations CORE is trying to make with the tech giant.
The bargaining unit also asked for 10% pay raises and an extended bereavement leave from 10 days per occurrence to up to 45 days per year, and asked that the policy include pets and close friends.
These unionized workers also want more holidays and additional vacations days — and both with better pay.
Unionized workers at an Apple store in Townson, Md., are negotiating with the tech giant to add a tipping scheme to all in-store credit-card purchases.Getty Images
In a series of tweets explaining the proposal, CORE said that “Apple employees everywhere can tell you that they are already being offered tips by customers regularly, however, if an employee accepted even $1, it would be grounds for immediate termination.”
The union went on to say that a tipping scheme gives customers a means to thank Apple employees for their assistance, and revealed that “if a customer insists on leaving you money, as they often do, the money is required to be placed in the safe and goes to the company, not the employees.”
All the extra cash earned through these tips would be divided between the 100-plus members of the union on a biweekly basis based on hours worked, the proposal said.
The Townson Apple store — which is located inside this Town Center — is one of only two unionized Apple stores in the US.Getty Images
The labor union behind the tipping scheme is the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE). The union took to Twitter to explain its proposal further.
CORE has also asked to double pay for employees working 40-plus hours per week, that Apple pay $1 per hour more to employees who become first-aid certified and that the tech giant offer up to 34 weeks severance pay for layoffs.
A “new take” was also proposed regarding training pay, wellness leave and sabbatical, according to CORE’s Thursday Twitter thread.
CORE celebrated its unionization of the Maryland Apple store in June 2022.
The labor union joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
There are more than 100 Apple employees who work at the Towson, Md. location in CORE.IAM
However, Apple has spent the past year working to keep its 250-plus retail locations across the US from unionizing.
The company held a Q&A and information session on the topic, and the retail chief sent a video to workers in May 2022 telling them “it is your right to join a union — and it is equally your right not to join a union.”
An Oklahoma City Apple store is the brand’s only other unionized location.
Workers voted in favor of the union in October.
Locations in Atlanta and St. Louis attempted to unionize, but were unsuccessful.