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A faction of the Apple workforce has issued a memorandum that implies that the tech giant’s “fear-driven” return-to-office policy is ageist, racist, sexist, and constitutes a form of privilege.
Under the company’s incremental, post-COVID arrangement, the current one-day-per week in the office for corporate workers is scheduled to increase to two days starting this week and three days as of May 23.
Apple Park, the massive corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. that is said to house (or perhaps formerly house) about 12,000 employees, reportedly was built at a cost of $5 billion.
Opponents to the office-return plan instead advocate location-flexible work and that Apple should practice what it preaches when it comes to marketing its products.
In an open letter to executives with the title “Thoughts on Office-bound Work” that you can review in its entirety to get the full context, the group known as Apple Together provides six reasons why the so-called hybrid working plan previously announced by CEO Tim Cook is unsatisfactory, including the following under the diversity heading:
Apple will likely always find people willing to work here, but our current policies requiring everyone to relocate to the office their team happens to be based in, and being in the office at least 3 fixed days of the week, will change the makeup of our workforce. It will make Apple younger, whiter, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied, in short, it will lead to privileges deciding who can work for Apple, not who’d be the best fit,” the letter explained.
Privileges like “being born in the right place so you don’t have to relocate”, or “being young enough to start a new life in a new city/country'” or “having a stay-at-home spouse who will move with you”. And privileges like being born into a gender that society doesn’t expect the majority of care-work from, so it’s easy to disappear into an office all day, without doing your fair share of unpaid work in society. Or being rich enough to pay others to do your care-work for you…
The Apple Together cohort reportedly totals about 200 workers. Apple’s total U.S. workforce, which includes retail store staff, is said to be about 100,000.
“You have characterized the decision for the Hybrid Working Pilot as being about combining the ‘need to commune in-person’ and the value of flexible work. But in reality, it does not recognize flexible work and is only driven by fear. Fear of the future of work, fear of worker autonomy, fear of losing control,” the memo claims.
Apart from the identity politics, some of the other reasons that the group put forward will likely resonate with many employees across a variety of industries such as technology rendering the need for in-person collaboration obsolete along with the time and energy wasted commuting to and from the office.
“We are not asking for everyone to be forced to work from home,” Apple Together insisted. “We are asking to decide for ourselves, together with our teams and direct manager, what kind of arrangement works best for each one of us, be that in an office, work from home, or a hybrid approach. Stop treating us like school kids who need to be told when to be where and what homework to do…We tell all of our customers how great our products are for remote work, yet, we ourselves, cannot use them to work remotely? How can we expect our customers to take that seriously? How can we understand what problems of remote work need solving in our products, if we don’t live it?”
The group separately claimed that “Apple prides itself on its commitment to diversity, equity, and an environment where everyone can do their best work. But Apple has fallen short of this goal for so many of our current and former teammates…”
As alluded to above, the multinational technology company (like many enterprises in Silicon Valley as well as within the corporate America sector generally) has earned a reputation as being very progressive, although that doesn’t stop Apple from doing business in CCP-controlled China, where most of its devices are assembled under what some critics allege are sweatshop conditions.
“Apple, one of the ‘woke’ corporations that has endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement and critical race theory, continues to use slave labor in China to make its products, a new report shows, ” a May 2021 Washington Times Op-Ed argued. “Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has categorically denied the technology firm sources from Chinese companies that use Uyghur slave labor in its production lines.”
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