Tim Cook faces amazing employee anxiety at Apple

San Francisco — Known among Silicon Valley folks for a secret corporate culture where workers are expected to keep pace with management, Apple suddenly encounters a problem that wouldn’t have been thought of a few years ago. Facing: Employee anxiety.

On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said for the first time since employee concerns about whether the company should make more claims about political issues like Texas from equal pay for equal work. Answered questions from workers at the meeting. ‘Limited abortion law.

According to records obtained by the New York Times, Cook answered only two questions that activist employees wanted to ask at conferences broadcast to employees around the world. But his reaction was a notable recognition that Apple has taken root in the workplace and social issues that have been making Silicon Valley turmoil for years.

Over the past month, more than 500 people who have stated that they are current and former Apple employees have joined a group of employee activists who claim to be themselves on issues such as verbal abuse, sexual harassment, retaliation, and workplace discrimination. I submitted it. #AppleToo, Said Cher Scarlett and Janneke Parrish, two Apple employees who are helping to lead the group.

The group started Post some anonymous articles online We encourage colleagues to file complaints with state and federal labor authorities. Their problems are as diverse as those of the current and former eight employees spoken to the Times. These include workplace conditions, unequal wages, and company business practices.

A common theme is that Apple’s secrets have created a culture that discourages employees from talking about workplace concerns. Not a colleague, the media, or social media. Complaints about problematic managers and colleagues are often dismissed, and workers are afraid to criticize the company’s way of doing business, employees told The Times.

“Apple has this toxic and secret culture,” said Christine Defs, who worked for Apple for five years and left in August. “On the other hand, yes, I understand that the secret part is important for product security and surprises and delights customers. But it flows into other areas of culture and causes exorbitant damage. increase.”

In response to a question about equal pay for equal work on Friday, Apple’s heads of human resources Cook and Deirdre O’Brien said Apple regularly scrutinized compensation practices to pay employees fairly. rice field.

“If we find a gap, we sometimes fill it,” O’Brien said.

Cook was asked what Apple is doing to protect employees from Texas abortion restrictions, and is considering whether the company can support a legal battle with the new law, medical insurance. Said it would help pay for Apple workers in Texas. They had to travel to other states for an abortion.

According to Parish, Cook’s comments received various welcomes from Apple employees about Slack, the workplace bulletin board. Some employees supported Cook, while others, including her, were disappointed.

Parrish said he asked questions about specific steps Apple has taken to close the wage gap and ensure that more women and people of color are promoted to leadership roles. “The answer Tim gave us today didn’t ask us,” she said.

Apple has about 160,000 employees worldwide, and whether the newly announced complaint reflects a systematic problem that occurs in many large companies, or an isolated problem. It was unknown whether it was.

“We are always deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace,” the company said in a statement. “We take all concerns seriously, investigate every time a concern is raised, respect the privacy of the individuals involved, and do not discuss the issues of any particular employee.”

Broadcasting Apple’s workplace issues is noteworthy to many who have followed Apple for many years, but employee activity has become commonplace in Silicon Valley.

3 years ago, Google employees We marched out of offices around the world to protest our sexual harassment policy. last year, Facebook employee He protested the handling of their company’s posts by President Donald J. Trump.And some companies have Explicitly forbidden discussion It has nothing to do with work.

But at Apple, ranks and files seemed to work with little fuss until recently. Secrecy is a feature promoted by the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs to prevent leaks about Apple’s new products to maximize surprises when Apple’s new products are unveiled on stage. I was crazy about it. Employees who spoke to the Times said that over time, the culture had spread to wider workplaces.

“I’ve never met people who are afraid to oppose their employers,” said Scarlett, who joined Apple as a software engineer in April and worked for eight other companies.

Apple spokesman Company policy The employee said, “I am free to talk about your wages, hours and working conditions.”

Slack is an important organizing tool for workers, and several current and former employees have told The Times. Apple’s siled culture continued to separate different teams of employees from each other. This is another result of efforts to prevent leaks. Until Apple started using Slack in 2019, there wasn’t a large, popular internal message board for employees to communicate with each other.

Slack was especially popular when employees were told to work from home at the beginning of the pandemic. “For many of us, this was the first opportunity to interact with people outside our own silos,” said Parish. Previously, “No one was aware that someone else was experiencing this.”

Complaints seem to be influential. When Apple hired former Facebook manager Antonio García Martínez this year, it had more than 2,000 employees. Signed a letter of protest to management Because they called it “apparently racist and sexist remarks” in the books he wrote, based in part on his time on Facebook. within a few days, Apple fired him.. Garcia Martinez refused to comment on the details of his case.

In May, hundreds of employees signed a letter asking Apple to publicly support Palestinians during a recent conflict with Israel. And after the pandemic, the company’s Slack channel, which was set up to organize efforts to make Apple more flexible in arranging remote work, now has about 7,500 employees.

Beyond the group’s activities, Apple is tackling individual battles that are slipping into public.

Ashley Gjovik, Apple’s six-year former engineering program manager, said: She was complaining to apple For months, there was inadequate testing of toxic chemicals in her office and sexist comments from the manager about what she believed.

After announcing her complaint this year, Jobik was put on vacation and later fired.She said Apple told her She was fired for leaking product information and not cooperating with the investigation. She said she had filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Justice Ministry.

Apple refused to comment on the case of a particular employee.

Defs, who worked at Apple to mitigate the effects of mining precious minerals in conflict zones, reassigns her to the role she said would involve more work at lower wages. He said he left Apple after fighting the decision. She said Apple began trying to relocate her after complaining that the company’s efforts on minerals did not, in some cases, make a meaningful difference to the war-torn countries.

Hearing-impaired Richard Dahan said he had been struggling for six years with his previous job at the Apple Store in Maryland. His manager refused to provide a sign language interpreter for communicating with customers, which is sometimes required by federal law. He said he communicated with customers by typing on his iPad, and as a result, some customers refused to collaborate with him. When he told the manager, he said it was a customer’s right, he said.

“Is it okay to say I don’t want to work with people of color?” Dahan asked in an interview through a sign language interpreter.

He was finally assigned an interpreter. But by that time, he said senior management considered him a complainer and refused to promote him.

“Their culture is: Drink our Cool Aid and accept what we’re talking to you, and we’ll promote you,” he said. .. “But if you’re asking for something or making noise, they don’t.”

Tim Cook faces amazing employee anxiety at Apple

Source link Tim Cook faces amazing employee anxiety at Apple

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