Workers at Apple Inc.’s unionized store in Maryland are asking for
higher pay and additional time off, along with changes that could
affect the company’s tightly controlled retail experience, such as
letting customers tip employees.
The employees, represented by the International Association of
Machinists & Aerospace Workers, are conducting negotiations with
Apple on Wednesday and Thursday. Their latest proposal calls for
raises of as much as 10%, as well as major changes to the outlet’s
vacation policy, bereavement leave and overtime. [...]
The workers’ negotiators also want Apple to adopt a tipping
system, letting patrons offer gratuities in increments of 3%, 5%
or a custom amount for in-store credit-card transactions.
“This will allow thankful patrons the ability to express gratitude
for a job well done without any obligations,” the union wrote
Apple. “All monies collected through this manner would be
dispersed to members of the bargaining unit biweekly based on any
Higher pay and better vacation/holiday/leave policies are exactly the sort of things the union should ask for.
But this tipping proposal is so antithetical to Apple’s customer-first retail experience that it feels like a joke, or that the union negotiators have never even been in an Apple Store. They might as well ask for employees to be allowed to vape while working. Asking for something like tipping — on very expensive products, no less — plays right into the hands of those who argue that retail store unionization is not aligned with the interests of customers.
Stores that pay employees by commission create an obvious incentive for salespeople to pressure customers into purchasing items they don’t need or aren’t entirely comfortable with. Prompting for tips on retail sales is just a backdoor commission.