Apple Store employees at multiple retail stores in the United States are preparing to unionize, according to a new report. Apple Store employees have been vocal about unsuitable working conditions amid the ongoing pandemic and inadequate pay. The situation was so dire that retail employees organized a walkout on December 24, 2021, to demand better working conditions.
Apple Store workers are preparing to file paperwork to unionize
As reported by The Washington Post, groups are two stores are preparing paperwork to file with the National Labor Relations Board. At least half a dozen more locations are at earlier stages of planning in the unionization process.
Before officially filing, Apple Store organizers have been informally gauging interest among the staff, hoping that more than half of the employees will vote to unionize, people familiar with the matter say, the threshold needed to gain official legal standing with the NLRB.
In at least one case, store employees hoped to gain at least 80 percent support before officially filing to form a union. That’s because the organizers expect that Apple will try to convince employees to vote against the union.
The publication says the main source of dissatisfaction comes from workers’ stagnating wages. The Cupertino tech giant pays retail employees $17-$30 per hour depending on role and position. However, workers say their wages have fallen below the rate of inflation.
With the success of more than 90 Starbucks stores creating unions, the report says Apple Store employees were inspired to accelerate their own efforts to unionize. Employees interviewed by the publication stated they had not shared in the company’s success, with workers making less and selling more products. One employee said, “I have a lot of co-workers and friends who I genuinely love and they do not make enough to get by. They’re struggling and they’re hurting and we work for a company that has the resources to make sure that they’re taken care of.”
Apple Store employees at one store said managers have already begun pulling employees aside and giving speeches about how unions will hurt employees, lower their wages and force Apple to take away benefits and opportunities, such as the “career experience” that Herbst described. Managers try to eavesdrop on employees, they said, while pretending to do something else.
While Apple’s wage rates are in line with the pay of other retail positions, employees think they should share the company’s success since it is one of the most profitable in the world.
Apple recently started giving raises to employees in the United States ranging between 2% and 10% based on their role and job location. In addition, the company doubled paid sick days and increased annual vacation days.