Some U.S. Apple Store Employees Reportedly Planning to Unionize

Apple Store employees at several retail stores in the U.S. are said to be planning to unionize.

A new report from the Washington Post says employee groups at least two Apple retail stores are backed by major national unions and are preparing to file paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the near future.

“Spurred by wages that have stagnated below the rate of inflation, and encouraged by successful efforts by Starbucks employees to form unions, retail workers say they hope they can push the world’s most valuable company to share more of its record-setting profits with the workers who sell, repair and troubleshoot the products it sells,” reads the report.

The main source of unrest is due to wages, explains the report. Apple pays retail employees in the range of $17-$30 USD per hour, depending on role and seniority. However, the workers say these rates have not kept up with inflation.

Inspired by recent successful union votes at more than 90 Starbucks stores, the report notes that efforts to unionize have recently accelerated. Operations are largely happening in secret in case of retaliation from management. However, the report says that at one store, managers have already begun discussing how unions will hurt employee working conditions.

“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.”

Employees say Apple’s hourly rates are usually in line with what other retail jobs pay in the regions where they’re employed. But most other retailers do not earn so much in revenue, nor are they valued at near $3 trillion. Apple Store employees interviewed by The Post believe their knowledge and passion for the products help drive sales and that they should share more fully in the company’s success.

“I have a lot of co-workers and friends who I genuinely love and they do not make enough to get by,” said one labour organizer who works at an Apple retail store. “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.”

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