Dozens of workers at an Apple store in Atlanta reportedly plan to file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking to become a union. Employees at an Apple retail store in New York are moving in that direction, too.
These could be the first U.S. Apple store employees to unionize. Both groups are asking for higher wages.
Apple store employees in Atlanta call for a union
Retail makes up a significant percentage of Apple employees, and none of them are currently unionized. But many of them are moving in that direction as away of getting paid more as inflation drives up the cost of living.
The Apple Store in Cumberland Mall in suburban Atlanta could make history as the first to have a union, as they plan to submit their petition to the NLRB on Wednesday. Requesting a vote to unionize requires 30% of the employees to sign cards of support, and 70% of the workers at this location of already done so, according to Bloomberg Law..
“Right now, I think, is the right time because we simply see momentum swinging the way of workers,” Derrick Bowles, a Cumberland Apple store employee, told Bloomberg Law. That’s not unreasonable at time many employers find themselves competing for quality applicants.
The group is asking for $28 an hour starting pay, up from around $20. In Georgia, the living wage for one adult is $15.99, but it’s $29.16 for a parent with a single child, according to MIT.
Unionizing in New York, too
Employees of the Atlanta Apple store aren’t alone in wanting a union. Workers at the location in New York’s Grand Central Terminal are also signing cards of support for a union.
They are partnering with Workers United, part of Service Employees International Union, according to CNN. The group in Atlanta are working with the Communications Workers of America. They hope to create the Apple Workers Union.
Apple told CNN, “We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple. We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits.”
Workers at other Apple retail stores are also interested in joining unions.