Apple reportedly announced its plans to bring employees back to the office at least three days per week starting September 5. Now, some workers are pushing back.
Apple Together, a global solidarity union of Apple workers, launched a petition to demand flexible work location arrangements. “This uniform mandate from senior leadership does not consider the unique demands of each job role nor the diversity of individuals,” the petition states.
The petition makes two explicit demands:
- First, for Apple to allow each employee to work directly with their manager to put together the best flexible work arrangements.
- Second, to ensure that formulating these arrangements “should not require higher level approvals, complex procedures, or providing private information.”
At the time of this article’s publication, Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Tech companies have taken a wide variety of stances on in-person versus remote work. Google rolled out its hybrid work schedule in April, with most employees expected to work in person three days per week. Last October, Amazon announced that it would leave decisions to the directors of individual teams, while Meta announced last year that it would open up the option to work remotely to individuals at every level of the company.
At Tesla, however, employees “must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla,” according to a leaked email from Elon Musk.
AT&T workers created a similar Change.org petition, claiming that employees were being “forced” back into the office despite an extended work-from-home agreement. In a statement to Fast Company, an AT&T spokesperson said “now that we are a largely vaccinated workforce, we believe it’s safe for employees to return to the workplace. We do our best work when we’re together.”
For workers under Apple Together, the issue strikes at the very heart of the company’s ethos and slogan: “We believe that Apple should encourage, not prohibit, flexible work to build a more diverse and successful company where we can feel comfortable to ‘think different’ together.”