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Apple workers launch petition over company's reported return-to-office plan

“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,” the petition says.
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Early customers wait in line at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City on Sept. 24.Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

Employees have launched a petition against Apple's return-to-office plans, saying a recent order for many workers to return to the office at least three days a week early next month could negatively affect their well-being.

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly issued a memo saying workers in the San Francisco Bay Area would be expected to report to the office three days a week starting Sept. 5. Employees will be expected to be in the office Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as on a third day to be determined by individual teams, according to The Verge, which published the memo’s contents. The memo said other offices would "hear more details shortly," the report said.

The petition was shared online by Apple Together, which identifies itself as a global solidarity union of workers from across the company.

"Are you an office-based Apple employee? Are you less than thrilled with the RTO mandate? Sign the petition, lets stand together," says the call to action, which was published overnight.

"For the past 2+ years, Apple’s formerly office-based employees have performed exceptional work, flexibly, both outside and inside traditional office environments," the petition says. "However, Apple leadership recently announced they require a general return to office starting the week of Sept 5 (Labor Day).

"This uniform mandate from senior leadership does not consider the unique demands of each job role nor the diversity of individuals," the petition argues. "Those asking for more flexible arrangements have many compelling reasons and circumstances: from disabilities (visible or not); family care; safety, health, and environmental concerns; financial considerations; to just plain being happier and more productive.

"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," it said.

It was unclear early Monday how many verified Apple workers had signed the petition. Apple Together did not immediately respond to an overnight request for comment.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter, have rolled out policies allowing staff members to work from home for the long term. Apple has long signaled that employees would be expected to return to the office.

Apple has repeatedly pushed back its return-to-office plans because of developments involving the coronavirus pandemic.