Apple retail workers at a store located in Atlanta, Georgia have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board.
If certified, the workers would be represented by the Communications Workers of America, the same national union currently campaigning to represent 34 quality assurance workers at Raven Software in Middleton. It would also be Apple’s first retail union, and the most recent in a series of successful unionization efforts that have taken place at large conglomerates like Amazon and Starbucks over recent weeks.
According to the union, over 70% of the store’s 100 employees have signed authorization cards. The store in Atlanta is one of Apple’s 270 brick-and-mortar locations across the country. Starting wages for Apple’s retail employees is $20/hour, which falls short of the $25.50 average in electronics retail stores nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
In a public statement, Derrick Bowles, an Apple employee and union signatory at the Atlanta location, said, “Apple is a profoundly positive place to work, but we know that the company can better live up to their ideals and so we’re excited to be joining together with our coworkers to bring Apple to the negotiating table and make this an even better place to work.”
Further north, Apple workers at the Grand Central Terminal retail location in New York City have also signaled that they want a union, announcing that they have started the process of gathering authorization cards. The organizing group responsible for the Grand Central drive is an independent, worker led collective that calls itself Fruit Stand Workers United.
FSWU is seeking a $30/hour minimum wage, improved retirement options, and increased 401(k) contributions by the company. The organization claims that wages were one of the central inspirations for a union, writing in their mission statement, “Year over year, the cost of living in New York City has not kept pace with our wages. Meanwhile, Apple has grown to be the most valuable company in the world. Why should its retail workers live precariously?”
Reporting Courtesy of Sean Hagerup for Labor Radio
Image Courtesy of Christopher Chan on Flickr