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Apple retail union organizers want workers to be paid at least $30 per hour

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Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

Workers who hope to organize a union at Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store want workers to be paid a minimum of $30 per hour, according to a website for the group, Fruit Stand Workers United, that was updated on Monday.

Employees at Apple’s high-profile store in New York City started to take steps to unionize earlier this year, posting the first public-facing website announcing their effort over the weekend.

The request for increased wages shows Apple’s wage workers believe they’re more valuable in a tight labor market.

“For pay, we seek a minimum $30 for all workers, built up on a matrix based on role, tenure, and performance,” the organizers said on their website. “For benefits, we seek more robust changes, like increased tuition reimbursement, faster accrued and more vacation time, and better retirement options, including higher match rates for 401(k) and enrollment into pension plans. For health and safety, we look to conduct research into security protocols with customer interactions, and research into track dust, health effects from building materials, and noise pollution at Grand Central.”

Apple employees can make from $17 to more than $30 per hour, depending on their market and experience, The Washington Post reported Saturday. On Monday, Verizon, a retail competitor in the market for phones, said it would raise its minimum wage to $20 per hour.

“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,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.

An employee-led organizing committee is collecting authorization cards that will determine the level of unionization support at the store. The union needs 30% of about 270 eligible employees at the Grand Central location in order to file with the National Labor Relations Board, a key step before filing a union petition.

If organizers get 30% of eligible employees to sign cards, then more than 50% of employees would have to vote to unionize in order to officially certify the union.

It’s the latest sign that workplace activism is rising across the country during an inflationary environment and as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced frontline workers to reexamine the risks and benefits of their jobs.

Amazon workers voted to form a union at a Staten Island warehouse earlier this month. Starbucks locations across the country also voted to unionize. Apple’s Grand Central store employees are seeking representation with Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, which has overseen some successful Starbucks unionization drives.

“Hourly wage workers across the country have come to the realization that without organizing for a collective voice, employers will continue to ignore their concerns in the workplace,” said Workers United in a statement.

Apple has 154,000 employees around the world, according to a financial filing, and 270 U.S. stores. Apple reported over $365 billion in sales around the world in its fiscal 2021.

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