After a series of COVID-related delays, Apple Inc. has set a Sept. 5 deadline for corporate employees to be in the office at least three days a week. The tech giant is based in Cupertino, California.  

According to Bloomberg, the company will require employees to work from the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays and a regular third day that will be determined by individual teams. That is a shift from Apple’s original plan, which called for in-person work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The company notified employees of the new approach on Monday. 

The new policy comes weeks after the company dropped its mask mandate in common areas of offices. Apple had removed such a requirement at individual desks several months ago. 

Lowe’s to Give Workers Inflation Bonuses 

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is offering hourly employees $55 million in bonuses to help offset the sting of inflation, which has remained near 40-year highs all summer, according to the Washington Post. The company made the announcement on an earnings call on Wednesday. 

“In recognition of some of the cost pressures they are facing due to high inflation, we are providing an incremental $55 million in bonuses to our hourly front-line associates this quarter,” Lowe’s chief executive Marvin R. Ellison said on the call. “These associates have the most important jobs in our company, and we deeply appreciate everything they do to serve our customers to deliver a best-in-class experience.” 

Steve Salazar, a spokesperson for Lowe’s, confirmed that the bonus would be paid out to hourly workers on Sept. 9 and taxed. Lowe’s did not respond to the Post about how much each employee would receive. 

Lowe’s employs approximately 300,000 associates and operates or services more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores, the Post reported. 

Second Trader Joes Store Votes to Unionize 

The New York Times has that workers at a Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis voted on Aug. 12 to unionize, adding a second unionized store to the more than 500 locations of the supermarket chain. 

In July, Trader Joe’s workers at a store in Hadley, Massachusetts voted 45-31 to unionize, becoming the first at that company to do so. The Minneapolis vote was 55-5, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which held the election. 

The Minneapolis workers voted to join Trader Joe’s United, the same independent union that represents workers in Hadley. Workers at a third Trader Joe’s store in Colorado have also filed for a union election, but the labor board has not yet authorized a vote or set an election date. 

In a statement referring to the election results in Minneapolis, a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman, Nakia Rohde, said, “While we are concerned about how this new rigid legal relationship will impact Trader Joe’s culture, we are prepared to immediately begin discussions with their collective bargaining representative to negotiate a contract.” 

Sarah Beth Ryther, a Trader Joe’s worker in Minneapolis who was involved in the organizing campaign, said her co-workers had been motivated in part by dissatisfaction with pay and benefits, issues that helped prompt the union campaign in Massachusetts. 

Starbucks Asks Labor Board to Halt Union Votes Temporarily 

According to the Associated Press, Starbucks asked the National Labor Relations Board on Monday to temporarily suspend all union elections at its U.S. stores, citing allegations from a board employee that regional NLRB officials improperly coordinated with union organizers. 

In a letter to the board chairman and other officials, Starbucks said the unnamed career NLRB employee informed the company about the activity, which happened in the board’s St. Louis office in the spring while it was overseeing a union election at a Starbucks store in Overland Park, Kansas. 

The store is one of 314 U.S. Starbucks locations where workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections since late last year. More than 220 of those stores have voted to unionize. The company opposes the unionization effort. 

Starbuck alleges that St. Louis labor board officials made special arrangements for pro-union workers to vote in person at its office when they did not receive mail-in ballots, even though Starbucks and the union had agreed that store elections would be handled by mail-in ballot. 

Starbucks Workers United, the group seeking to unionize U.S. Starbucks stores, accused the company of trying to “distract attention away from their unprecedented anti-union campaign, including firing over 75 union leaders across the country, while simultaneously trying to halt all union elections.” 

“Ultimately, this is Starbucks’ latest attempt to manipulate the legal process for their own means and prevent workers from exercising their fundamental right to organize,” the group said in a statement. 

Gallup: Job Unhappiness Is at a Staggering All-Time High 

As CNBC reported, Gallup, in its recent State of the Global Workplace: 2022 report, found that, along with dissatisfaction, workers are experiencing staggering rates of both disengagement and unhappiness. Sixty percent of people reported being emotionally detached at work and 19% as being miserable. Only 33% reported feeling engaged even lower than 2020. 

In the U.S. specifically, 50% of workers reported feeling stressed at their jobs on a daily basis, 41% as being worried, 22% as sad and 18% angry. 

“As Gallup finds, it’s not just the hours, work-life balance, or workplace location that leave workers dissatisfied,” wrote CNBC’s Leah Collins. “In fact, worker disengagement rises with remote work and 4-day week workers, and stress levels rise for in-person and 5-day week workers. 

Gallup also found that the manager or team leader alone accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement. 

The role of the manager is really important in well-being,” Jim Harter, chief scientist of workplace management and well-being at Gallup, told CNBC. “Their first job is to make sure the work-related things are right — people know what their role is, they get recognized when they do good work, they feel cared about at work and have a chance to develop in the future, they can see where they’re headed in the organization. If you can get those sorts of things right, you start building trust. And when you have trust, you can open the door for having broader discussions around well-being.” 

It pays to have thriving workers, wrote Collins, especially since Gallup found that business units with engaged workers have 23% higher profit compared with business units with miserable workers. Employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity, equal to 11% of global GDP. 

Editor’s Note: Additional Content 

For more information and resources related to this article see the pages below, which offer quick access to all WorldatWork content on these topics: 

·         Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging 

·         Employee Compensation 

·         Employee Experience 

·         Well-Being 

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