The activism of Apple employees is changing the balance of power

The activism of Apple employees is changing the balance of power within the company, today’s report suggests. He says more employees are willing to talk about issues that affect them – such as the pay gap – and feel more protected than they have in the past.

The presented evidence is mixed, but it indicates that there has been at least a shift in the culture of secrecy in the company …

Verge ‘s Zoe Schiffer deals with labor issues, not just Apple, but in recent months she has become a key figure for Apple employees who want to talk about company policy and practice.

The title of her latest article – “Apple’s fortress of secrecy is collapsing from within” – is, of course, hyperbolic, but it seems reasonable to conclude that an increasing number of Cupertino employees are willing to talk about issues that concern them.

The article mostly summarizes what has happened in the last five months, including a reaction to Apple’s announcement of a return to the office.

Cook announced that Apple will reopen its offices after a difficult year of telecommuting. Starting in September, employees will be required to return to work in person three days a week, with the option of working from Wednesday and Friday from home […]

Tensions could remain low had it not been for the Slack channel – # remote advocacy – created in September 2020 to promote a more flexible work environment. By the summer of 2021, it had approximately 2,800 members, and conversations were becoming increasingly lively. After Cook announced, employees knew they had to send a message. It was a small push against management that would lay the groundwork for months of organizing employees and perhaps change Apple’s workforce forever.

It is claimed that Apple’s famous secret about product development has been extended to almost all aspects of the company’s business, with employees afraid to speak publicly about any issues – but that is changing.

“There’s a change in the balance of power going on here,” says Jason Snell, a former magazine editor Macworld, covering Apple since the 1990s. “Not everyone is afraid that the boss of Apple will fire them. They say, ‘I’m going to say some bad things about Apple, and if you go against me, it’s going to look bad to you.’ ‘

The change is due in part to the fact that the technology giant has been in a radical new experiment for two years: the use of Slack. Where Apple employees used to work in teams with very few people with little opportunity to meet people outside of their current project or department, they now have a way to communicate with anyone in the company. Employees found that individual work complaints are shared by people in completely different parts of Apple.

One of the things that revealed this greater openness were the obvious examples of differences in salaries between men and women, something that Apple says does not happen within the company.

There certainly seems to be a gap between the statements of the iPhone manufacturer and its actions in this area.

Although the company explicitly states that its policies “should not be construed as restricting your right to speak freely about your wages, hours, or working conditions,” the reality is that there is a strong expectation that internal problems should be kept within.

When an unofficial internal salary survey revealed a 6% gap between employed men and women, Apple’s response was to shut down the survey.

It is unclear to what extent speech is successful. One success story was the controversial offer of Antonio Garcia Martinez, who wrote a book in which he described women from Silicon Valley as soft, weak, naive and titled. Employees demanded that he be fired, and Apple subsequently fired him.

Other examples cited by Schiffer were less successful. In one case, a woman who felt she was significantly underpaid compared to her less experienced male counterparts, her request was denied and she resigned. In another case, an employee who spoke very publicly about workplace concerns was fired.

She concludes that, although there has been a shift, it is uncertain how lasting this change will be. Only a small number of employees have spoken, and many more believe that secrecy is part of the deal at Apple, and if you’re not happy about that, you shouldn’t be working there.

What do you think? Should employees be free to express concerns about issues unrelated to product development, or should secrecy be extended to the way a company treats its employees? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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