At the crux of Hillary Clinton’s campaign so far this election season has been the idea that in order for the middle class to grow, big businesses need to do more to share their good fortune with the employees who do the hard work day in day out.
Now, it seems Apple agrees.
From now on, all Apple employees, from its top engineers to its retail and AppleCare workers, will be eligible for a stock grant program that was previously only available to Apple’s corporate employees. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new program in a company-wide email last night, WIRED has learned. Cook explained that while Apple employees have always been able to buy Apple stock at a discounted rate, until now only corporate employees were eligible to be nominated for restricted stock units, or RSUs, which essentially amount to grants of stock that the company uses as incentives to keep and reward top talent. Now, any employee is eligible. Apple has not yet responded to WIRED’s request for comment.
RSUs are commonplace among Silicon Valley startups competing for engineering, design, and business talent. But for a company of Apple’s size, which depends not only on high-end knowledge workers but a vast network of retail and service employees around the world, the move sets an important precedent about the role businesses should play in ensuring the financial stability of all—not just some—of their employees.
It’s a precedent that Clinton, at least, would like to extend as president. But her plan, called the “rising incomes, sharing profits” tax credit, is slightly different from what Apple is announcing. Instead of a stock program, Clinton proposes a true profit-sharing program, in which companies give employees grants—up to 10 percent of that employee’s wages—in return for a two year tax credit. The tax credit would amount to 15 percent of all the money the company divvied out through its profit-sharing program. So, in other words, an employee who makes $50,000 a year could receive a $5,000 grant, and the company itself would receive a $750 tax credit.
“Yes, of course, raise the minimum wage, but we have to do so much more, including finding ways so that companies share profits with the workers who helped to make them,” Clinton said during last night’s Democratic debate. WIRED has reached out to the Clinton campaign for comment on Apple’s plans.
While Clinton’s vision of how this will all play out may differ from Apple’s, both plans seek to achieve the same ultimate goal: to create more parity between the people at the top of the corporate ladder, the people at the bottom of the corporate ladder, and everyone in between.
Given how Apple has pushed the business world not just technologically but ethically and environmentally throughout the years, it’s easy to imagine how Apple could also push its fellow tech and corporate giants on this issue, as well—and provide the Clinton campaign with a marquee company to name-check on the campaign trail.Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.