Workers at the Apple store in Atlanta, Georgia have filed for unionization, becoming the first national union to do so. reporters foundApple employees in at minimum seven stores were involved with union organizing earlier in the year.
The workers have filed for representation with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) — specifically, the Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, or the CODE-CWA campaignThe aims to unite video game and tech workers. If they successfully unionize, they will be the first union among the company’s 272 retail storesIn the U.S. The union would include roughly 107 workersIn the store
According to Vice, 70 percent of workers at the store, located in the Cumberland Mall, have signed union cards — a far larger proportion of the workers than the 30 percent needed for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold an election. A simple majority of votes is required to win a union elections, which are scheduled for Apple workers in early mai.
This is a significant milestone for workers in a moment of great change in the labor movement. Workers who join unions will be able to join workers from other large companies that are household names. REI, AmazonAnd StarbucksUnions have been formed by a number of workers in the tech sector, including those at Apple who have had success in unionizing within the last few months. Apple employees join forces with other workers in tech sectors, such as those at Google, when they unionize under the CODE–CWA campaign. Activision Blizzard.
Six other Apple stores are also in the process of union organizing. This suggests there is a nationwide demand for unionizing Apple stores. Apple employees at Grand Central Station in New York City. announced that they’re seeking to unionize under Workers United using the name “Fruit Stand Workers United.” They are in the process of gathering enough signatures to petition for an election.
Organizers hope that Atlanta’s union will spark a wave in union filings across the country similar to the current campaign waged by Starbucks workers. Genius Bar worker Derrick Bowles said that workers were inspired to unionizeAfter seeing Amazon workers organize their campaign at Bessemer in Alabama, Though Amazon employees’ first union election failed — due to illegal tampering from the company, the NLRB ruled — Apple Workers Union was inspired by their efforts.
“Right now, I think, is the right time because we simply see momentum swinging the way of workers,” Bowles told Bloomberg Law. “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.”
Starting pay for workers at the Cumberland Mall store is about $20 an hour, which workers say isn’t enough to live on in Atlanta. The union will ask for wages to rise to at least $28 per hour, and wage increases to match inflation and reflect the high profits reported by the company. For fiscal year 2021 Apple reported record revenues, with a net income of $94.7 billion — up a whopping 48 percent over the previous year.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator, a Cobb County living wage is approximately $17 an hr. a single adult with no childrenFor a single adult and one child, it is $31 an hour. However, these numbers were calculated between 2020-2021 and may have been influenced by rising inflation rates.
Apple’s brick and mortar stores account for a large portion of its revenue; in 2019, the company had made $32 billion. roughly 30 percentThe retail stores account for a large portion of the company’s overall revenue. Workers say that Grand Central Station managers were rude to them. are trying to convince workers that there’s no need for a union, and that the companyResponding to the union campaign, has stressed its workers’ benefits and pay.
“Somebody has got to be the first to do something,” Bowles told Bloomberg Law. “Being first doesn’t matter to us — doing it is what matters to us. And if we have to be first, we will be first.”