In First for Apple, Maryland Store Employees Vote to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board announced over the weekend that 65 Apple employees at a Towson, Maryland store (near Baltimore) have voted to unionize (33 voted against). The Apple CORE (Coalition of Organized Retail Employees) will become part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The decision follows a growing labor trend across restaurant, retail and tech industries, while marking a first for Apple’s more than 270 U.S. retail locations. The Towson facility is the third Apple Store to conduct a union drive this year, but the first to hold an official vote. Continue reading In First for Apple, Maryland Store Employees Vote to Unionize

Massachusetts Court Objects to Gig Worker Ballot Measure

A proposed Massachusetts ballot initiative designating gig drivers as independent contractors was nixed by a state court that deemed it an attempt to avoid liability by companies like Uber and Lyft in the event of accident or crime. The Tuesday ruling effectively halted a $17.8 million campaign in support of a bill the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said violates the State Constitution, with hidden language excepting drivers from being “an employee or agent” of a gig company. The move is the latest in a series of skirmishes between gig companies and local governments.  Continue reading Massachusetts Court Objects to Gig Worker Ballot Measure

Unions a Gaming Hot Button as Activision Blizzard Organizes

Activision Blizzard has become the first major North American video game company where workers have voted to form a union, the Game Workers Alliance. The vote, which took place over the last few weeks, passed 19 to 3, affecting 28 quality-assurance employees at the company’s Wisconsin-based Raven Software subsidiary, which works on “Call of Duty” game development. Results were tabulated by the National Labor Relations Board on Monday. Activision has a week to lodge formal objections. The Communications Workers of America says it hopes the development “serves as inspiration for the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios.” Continue reading Unions a Gaming Hot Button as Activision Blizzard Organizes

Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

During Apple’s Q2 conference call a few weeks ago, CEO Tim Cook admitted China’s new COVID-19 lockdowns would result in supply chain disruptions causing as much as $8 billion in lost sales this year. Although Cook tried to emphasize Apple’s supply chain as “truly global,” with manufacturing in the U.S. and elsewhere, the company’s reliance on China could be problematic, and reports are surfacing that sources at the company are saying Apple is now on the hunt for production locations outside China, with India and Vietnam, where Apple already has small manufacturing operations, mentioned as candidates. Continue reading Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

Amazon NY Workers Spark Reevaluation of Union Organizing

The stunning victory by an independent union at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse has organized labor reassessing its strategies for the future. The efforts of what were essentially amateur organizers — current and former facility employees relying on tools like GoFundMe — succeeded where Big Labor has in recent times often failed. Amazon on Friday objected to the results in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board and has until April 22 to provide proof that the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) broke the rules to achieve its win. At that point, the NLRB will hold a hearing to consider Amazon’s claims. Continue reading Amazon NY Workers Spark Reevaluation of Union Organizing

Amazon Workers’ Labor Victory Points to New Union Playbook

The strategy that successfully unionized Amazon workers on New York’s Staten Island has energized worker groups around the nation, including employees at other Amazon warehouses who are expected to try and follow suit. Most immediately, a smaller warehouse in Staten Island has a union vote scheduled for the end of the month, while a past election in Bessemer, Alabama sees employees contesting the ballots of a failed initial effort. Other companies are also facing a restless workforce that has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic with new focus and tactics. Continue reading Amazon Workers’ Labor Victory Points to New Union Playbook

Passage of California Prop 22 Is Big Victory for Gig Economy

California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 22, which will allow gig workers for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and others to remain independent contractors. These three companies created the proposition to exempt them from a state labor law that would require them to treat drivers as employees and pay for healthcare, unemployment insurance and other benefits. Proposition 22 does include a wage floor and some benefits for drivers. San Francisco, headquarters for Uber and Lyft, presented the strongest opposition. Continue reading Passage of California Prop 22 Is Big Victory for Gig Economy

Fast Food Giants Follow GrubHub’s Lead with Ordering Apps

Starbucks and McDonalds are working towards implementing mobile ordering and digital payment systems. Besides the pizza industry, most fast food chains have been reluctant to adopt digital ordering systems, while small businesses have been quick to accept GrubHub, which allows customers to order food online or through a smartphone app. Since GrubHub recognizes that fast food chains will likely create their own apps, the company is focused on partnering with independent restaurants. Continue reading Fast Food Giants Follow GrubHub’s Lead with Ordering Apps

Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

Foxconn executives have been in talks about robotics with former Android executive Andy Rubin, specifically to discuss new robotic technologies and speed up deployment of robots in its factories. Rubin asked Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou to help integrate a tech company that’s being acquired by Google, which last year acquired eight other robotics companies. In the meeting, Gou was said to have expressed excitement over automation technologies demonstrated by Rubin. Continue reading Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

3D Printing: Mass Market Retail May Be in Serious Trouble

Having an efficient supply chain used to be enough for retailers to be successful (think Walmart). And with the advent of advanced analytics, it became possible for companies to suggest products or to provide add-ons (think Amazon). However, these techniques may become obsolete, as 3D printing and robotic manufacturing take over centralized production. It is not likely that a single company will capitalize on this, for we are now entering the ascendancy of design. Continue reading 3D Printing: Mass Market Retail May Be in Serious Trouble

In a Struggling Economy, Americans Watch More Television

According to the American Time Use Survey released by the Labor Department yesterday, Americans spent less time at work in 2012 and spent more time involved with leisure activities such as watching television. The survey suggests that the country’s sluggish recovery continues to impact workers. While time devoted to volunteering dropped, time spent on leisure and sleeping increased. Americans watched TV for two hours and 50 minutes per day, a second consecutive annual increase. Continue reading In a Struggling Economy, Americans Watch More Television