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Apple trains store bosses to ignore deal with unions

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Apple has begun training its US store managers on how to deal with attempts by retail workers to organise themselves into unions.

According to a document seen by Cnet, the course will provide managers with "a practical understanding of how unions affect the workplace, how and why employees organize, and the legal do's and don'ts of dealing with unions".

All new managers will be required to take the course, and all managers will have to take the course biannually.

The initiation of the training sessions should be seen as Apple quaking in its boots at a Solidarnosc-type eruption amongst long-downtrodden and increasingly revolutionary working staff, ready to cast off their blue t-shirts, seize the levers of power and turn their Apple stores into workers' co-operatives bringing the joy of Mac to the lumpen proletariat. But it probably isn't.

What is seems to be reacting against is the Apple Retail Workers Union. The effort was sparked by San Francisco-based Apple store worker Cory Moll, who was particularly exercised over the way the chain treats its part-time workers. So far the workers' organisation has attracted 317 followers on Twitter and 817 likes on Facebook.

Of course that doesn't mean there aren't active cells operating throughout the Mac vendor's worldwide store network, waiting to grab their moment when Apple's peculiar brand of capitalism begins to crack under the weight of its own internal contradictions.

The organisation's website is as minimalist as you'd expect from people soaked in the Apple approach.

It bears the slogan "At Apple, our most important resource, our soul, is our people", along with the slightly more threatening and probably over-optimistic "Our time has come".

It may be that the union's time really has come, and Apple is looking to ensure its store managers take its workers' concerns on board. But we suspect it's more a case of Apple ensuring managers ignore the union in the approved, consistent manner. ®

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