Apple Store Workers in Atlanta Filed for First Union Election

Ian Kullgren, reporting last week for Bloomberg Law:

The union has proposed an on-site election May 5-7.

“Right now, I think, is the right time because we simply see momentum swinging the way of workers,” Bowles said. “As we sat back and re-evaluated, what we realized is that we love being at Apple — and leaving Apple, that’s not something any of us wants to do. But improving it is something we wanted to do.”

Organizers say that pay at the store falls below the living wage for Atlanta. Starting pay is about $20 an hour, below the $31-an-hour living wage for a single parent with one child, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The union wants to raise base wages to $28 an hour, the minimum it says is needed for a single employee to afford a one-bedroom apartment without being burdened by rent. It’s also asking for bigger raises to offset inflation and greater profit sharing to match corporate employees.

An Apple spokesman didn’t comment specifically on the union filing but said the company is “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.”

I don’t have much to add here but the moment is worth noting. I think Apple Retail is a great place to work by today’s retail standards, but today’s standards are so low in terms of both pay and benefits that it seems inevitable — overdue even — that unionization is on the upswing nationwide, even at one of the best retail employers.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022