The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) used Apple's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday to protest an Apple contractor. Members picketed, chanted, played drums, and shook rattles in protest of Security Industry Specialists, Inc. (SIS), which provides some security services to Apple.
A representative of three unions with stakes in Apple also used the question and answer session with Apple CEO Tim Cook to ask about SIS.
SEIU Picketers Outside Apple's Infinite Loop Officers
According to the firm's website, SIS, "provides unique security solutions to some of the most successful names in business." The company provides executive protection, threat assessment, uniformed protection, retail loss prevention, and security for special events.
It's not known in what capacity Apple uses the firm. In response to the shareholder question from the union representative, Tim Cook said that he knew "nothing" about SIS, and said that he would be "happy to look into it" after the meeting.
Drums, Megaphones, Rattles, and Placards
The charge from the union representative inside the meeting is that SIS has resisted efforts by SIS employees to unionize. He didn't offer any specifics. The chanters picketing outside accused SIS of treating its workers poorly.
"Stop Bad Apple Contractors" Across on Mariani Avenue
As already noted, Mr. Cook didn't specifically address the SIS issue, but he did stand up for Apple's track record on its supply chain. He said that Apple does more than any other company that he has looked at in improving working conditions in its supply chain.
He noted that Apple offers university courses for workers at manufacturing campuses and claimed that 200,000 workers have taken advantage of those courses. He also said that Apple educates workers in China on their rights, and that it has so far done so for more than 1 million workers.
"That may sound strange for those of you living here where you know your rights," Mr. Cook said. In China, however, that isn't the case, and he believes it is an important issue for Apple in that market.
Shares of $AAPL closed lower on Wednesday, ending the day at $444.57, down $4.40 (-0.98 percent), on heavy volume of 20.9 million shares trading hands.
Stay tuned for additional coverage from the meeting at The Mac Observer.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.