Apple Stealing Wages From Apple Store Employees

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 1 2013 9:43 AM

Apple Stealing Wages From Apple Store Employees  

174288451
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: The Apple logo is viewed in front of an Apple store on July 23, 2013 in New York City.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Apple labor controversies typically involve its subcontractors' factories in Asia where I tend to sympathize with the view that in context the factories are generally a force for good. But the conduct alleged in this class action lawsuit filed on July 25 seems completely indefensible. The basic issue is this. Apple agrees to pay Apple Store employees an hourly wage. That's how you run a store. Apple also makes Apple Store employees undergo time-consuming search procedures to make sure they're not stealing stuff from the store. That's annoying, but you can understand how it happens. The highest-end unsubsidized iPhone retails for $849 and easily fits into your pocket. But the allegation is that Apple would treat the search time as time "off the clock" and uncompensated even though spending the time doing it was a formal condition of employment.

This is the paragraph where I say I'm not a lawyer and for all I know Apple's just found some clever loophole here.

Advertisement

But one way or another, it's indefensible. And that's particularly true because of Apple's larger corporate and financial structure. It obtains extremely high gross margins on the stuff it sells, and it's not even coming close to using all that money to fuel new investments and expansion. Recently they've started taking some of their enormous surplus and kicking it out to shareholders as dividends and repurchases, which is a bit lame. But the bulk of Apple's profits are absolutely idle. And it's pretty clear that financial markets drastically discount the value of Apple's hoarded cash on the perfectly reasonable grounds that the company seems to have no idea what to do with tens of billions of extra dollars. Tim Cook could stop shortchanging these Apple Store guys and leave nobody at all worse off.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.