Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, the company's senior vice president of software engineering, reportedly sent memos to their employees indicating that as of September 5, workers in the Bay Area (i.e., near the company's headquarters in Santa Clara County) would be expected to turn up to the office three days a week. Cook noted that in-person collaboration is essential to Apple culture.
This news was not well received by a number of Apple workers, some of whom believe a return to work will make Apple "whiter" and impact the environment.
AppleTogether, an internal employee advocacy group which touts itself as "a global solidarity union made up of workers from all parts of Apple organizing for a say in our workplace," started a petition, which presently has hundreds of signatures with the aim of hitting 500 altogether. Another petition was created on AppleTogether's site, which has allegedly received additional signatures from both current and former Apple employees, in excess of 1,400.
The petition claims that Apple's leadership teams have failed to consider "the unique demands of each job role" as well as "the diversity of individuals."
The petitioner and their cosigners demand that "Apple allows each of us to work directly with our immediate manager to figure out what kind of flexible work arrangements are best for each of us and for Apple." Additionally, they demand that their "work arrangements should not require higher level approvals, complex procedures, or providing private information."
AppleTogether suggested on its site that the requirement to report to the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, along with an additional day selected on the basis of what works best for a worker's individual team, "is almost no flexibility at all."
AppleTogether cites "safety, health, and environmental considerations" and "just plain being happier and more productive" among its reasons for rejecting the summons back to Apple's $5 billion headquarters Cupertino, California, which sits on 175 acres and has a movie theater, dental office, fitness center, physical therapy studio, and laundry facilities.
There is also a demographic reasoning behind the petitioner's rejection of the proposed hybrid work model. Requiring everyone to relocate to the office "will change the makeup of our workforce. It will make Apple younger, white, more male-dominated, more neuro-normative, more able-bodied."
Apple's workforce is presently 65.2% male and 34.8% female; 43.8% white, 27.9% Asian, 14.8% Hispanic, and 9.4% black. Its employees are most likely to be members of the Democrat party and, according to Zippia, the average employee makes $127,197 per year.
The Financial Times noted that remote and hybrid work has fallen out of favor elsewhere in the tech world. Elon Musk told workers at Tesla in May that "remote work is no longer acceptable."
In an email shared by Tesla shareholder Sam Nissim, Elon wrote: "Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean *minimum*) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla."
To those at Tesla demanding to retain work-from-home privileges as the proponents of AppleTogether have, Musk wrote: "Pretend to work somewhere else."