First Employee Council Reaps First Benefit

September 12, 2012

As workplace changes go, it’s a small one, yet one with enormous significance. Apple has rented office space adjacent to the Rosenstraße (Munich) retail store, in response to employee complaints of overcrowding to their official workers’ council. The store is the only one in Apple’s chain to have such representation, in this case by a Betriebsrat, a legally-authorized representation group that is common in several European countries. The Rosenstraße store employees joined the Ver.di council in December 2011 and within months had an official office in the back-of-house area of the store. With the rental of the new space on the second level over the Vodaphone store at Rosenstraße 1, it’s likely that the council office will move next door along with some store functions. There is an on-going effort to improve working conditions at Apple’s stores through the Apple Retail Workers Union (ARWU), founded by San Francisco (N. Calif.) store employee Cory Moll in May 2011. Despite its name, it is not a legally-recognized union under U.S. federal law. Instead, the organization encourages open discussion of workplace issues among store employees, including pay and benefits, shifts and scheduling, promotions and transfers, along with suggestions for improving store operations. So far, none of the United States Apple stores have taken steps to form a labor union according to specific federal regulations.

This photo shows the Rosenstraße Apple store, and the location (yellow) of the remote offices that Apple has rented.

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