The wave of unionizing is blowing through the US, and Apple employees at a Grand Central Terminal store in New York City have started making moves to form a union.
According to The Washington Post, Apple workers at the store have been collecting signatures to unionize. The organizers call themselves Fruit Stand Workers United. They revealed on their website that they had been affiliated with the Workers United Labor since February 2022. Workers United is also supporting Starbucks employees attempting to unionize in the country.
The organizers at the Apple store have been passing out signature cards for staff to indicate whether they support forming a union or not. If those in support reach 30 percent, the organizers can apply to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Until now, no attempt at any Apple store to unionize has been successful.
However, the Fruit Stand Workers United believes the Grand Central store is different for several reasons. On their website, they write, “Workers at Apple Stores in the United States are organizing, and you could be part of that effort at Grand Central. Workers have the right under the law to organize to demand better wages, benefits, and working conditions from Apple.
“Grand Central is an extraordinary store with unique working conditions that make a union necessary to ensure our team has the best possible standards of living in what have proven to be extraordinary times with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and once-in-a-generation consumer price inflation.”
The organizers mention the benefits of unionizing, apart from collective bargaining. “In addition, members of Workers United have access to unique benefits Apple does not offer, such as access to low down payment (5%) mortgages up to $500,000. This could allow more of our team to become first-time homeowners.”
The group also includes the dues the workers will pay. It is inviting Apple workers at other stores to join the discussion.
Some Apple stores have been considering unionizing due to complaints of wages remaining stagnant despite inflation rising significantly. They also want to tackle poor working conditions at the store. The Post reported that at least three other Apple stores were pursuing forming a union.
In reaction to the recent spate of unionizing efforts, an Apple spokesperson told The Post, “We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple. 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.”
Meanwhile, Apple decided to increase benefits for its part-time and full-time retail employees after The Verge reported that the store employees were battling low wages and unconducive working conditions. Added to these two was the stress of the pandemic, including changing mask guidance and store closures. They were also required to show proof of receiving a Covid-19 booster shot or negative Covid-19 test result before being admitted to work.