Tipping at the Apple Store? How and Where It Might Happen

The union representing a Maryland Apple store wants you to be able to show your gratitude.

Nina Raemont Writer
A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Nina started at CNET writing breaking news stories before shifting to covering Security Security and other government benefit programs. In her spare time, she's in her kitchen, trying a new baking recipe.
Nina Raemont
2 min read
Apple logo on flagship store in Shanghai, China
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A union demand at an Apple Store in Maryland could open the door to tipping by Apple customers for their in-store transactions.

The request for a tipping option is one of a number of demands that the union made of the company this week, according to Bloomberg. Employees at the store in Towson, Maryland -- the first Apple Store in the US to form a union -- are also asking for raises of as much as 10%, vacation policy changes, bereavement leave and overtime pay, among other demands, Bloomberg reported.

These proposals are subject to change as negotiations between the union and Apple continue, the union told Bloomberg. 

While we await the outcome of negotiations, here's what you should know about the proposal for tipping.

Is tipping even allowed at Apple stores?

As things stand now, receiving tips while working at an Apple store could result in an employee's termination, the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees said in a Twitter thread this week.

"Apple employees everywhere can tell you that they are already being offered tips by customers regularly, however, if an employee accepted even $1, it would be grounds for immediate termination," ACORE said.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

What kind of tips are we talking about?

The tipping system being proposed would offer tips in increments of 3%, 5% or a custom amount customers could give, according to Bloomberg. ACORE wants to create "an acceptable system that allows the occasional customer the ability to reward our team for their hard work," it said in the Twitter thread.  

How many stores would this affect?

The negotiations with the union for the Towson store would likely affect only that location, but a win by the union there could set a precedent for Apple stores.

Apple has opposed unionization efforts in many of its stores. In April, retail managers in 270 outlets held meetings with employees to turn them against unionization efforts, Bloomberg reported. Only two Apple stores are currently unionized, the Towson location and an Oklahoma City store

There are 272 Apple stores in the US, and nearly as many overseas. Apple opened its first retail store in India in April. 

When might tipping go into effect?

Hard to say. It's early days still in what could be a prolonged back-and-forth between the company and the union. The proposal is also subject to change, the union told Bloomberg, due to the long and complex nature of the negotiation process. 

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