Apple store in Maryland becomes first to pass union vote

Apple’s employees at its retail store in Towson Town Center, Maryland, have voted to unionize. This marks the first of Apple’s 500+ stores to vote in favor of the process of unionization.

The vote was passed with 66% of employees in favor vs 34% against. Now that the vote has passed, it will need to be certified. Once that process is complete, a negotiation will happen between Apple and the union. Though this process is likely to be long, arduous, and may not result in unionization. The vote is indicative and not affirmative. Meaning there is no guarantee that the store will actually unionize.

Labor law in the United States is a is a long process. And so the fact that a single store negotiates or elects a union doesn’t mean that there’s a negotiated contract in the workplace. And we know in recent history that in many of these situations, parties are unable to come to terms on an initial contract,” Michael Duff, a former NRLB lawyer and professor at University of Wyoming College of Law, said Sunday. “The employer in the United States has an awful lot of rights to simply withdraw recognition at the end of the process. The employer can prove that it no longer supports a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit.”

Even after a union is certified, a company has a number of legal maneuvers at its disposal to fight it, Duff said. For instance, Apple could say it doesn’t believe that the bargaining unit that was certified by the NLRB is an appropriate bargaining unit. and refuse to bargain with the union. “If that happens, the whole thing goes to the courts and it could easily be a year or two before you even get the question of whether the employer is required to bargain with the union,” Duff added.

Labor experts say it’s common for employers to drag out the bargaining process in an effort to take the momentum out of union campaigns. It’s also possible that Apple — or any other company — restructures its business so the unionized workers are reclassified as independent contractors and not employees, in which case the union vote is moot, Duff said.

Associated Press on efforts to Unionize

POTUS weighs in on union efforts

President Biden declared that he was “proud” of workers at Apple’s Maryland store for making the decision to unionize.

“I am proud of them,” Biden told reporters on Monday. “Workers have a right to determine under what condition they are going to work or not work.”

President Biden via Reuters

iOS 16 could finally kill CAPTCHA

Having to tap on ‘all the school buses’ or ‘traffic lights’ could soon be a thing of the past. iOS 16 contains a useful new feature to bypass them entirely.

An example of a typical CAPTCHA that you might expect to see online.

The feature works via a private access tokenization system. Your iOS device essentially verifies that both it and your associated Apple ID represent a known ‘good’ user. The token that it generates satisfies the website in question. It tells it that the inbound web traffic from your device is real and not a bot.

Apple has provided a video that provides further insight and greater technical detail. But for the average user, the good news is that your experience when browsing the web will be much more straightforward.

It’s important to note that this won’t work on every website. Individual hosting services will need to opt-in. Fastly and Cloudflare have already announced support and it’s hoped that others will quickly do the same.

The AppleTLDR take

The sooner hosts begin to support this excellent new feature, the better. CAPTCHA serves an important purpose but creates barriers to accessibility, slows down the experience for all users, and is just plain annoying.

You can bet that once Apple adopts this new standard, others will quickly follow. I’m looking at you Google. On this occasion, this is a technology that I’d happily love to see Apple’s competitors copy.


Featured image: Trac Vu via Unsplash

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