Some U.S. Apple Store employees are working to unionize, part of a growing worker backlash, according a Feb. 18 report by the Washington Post. Apparently, Apple is getting ready to fight back.
Quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter,” a Bloomberg article says that groups at at least two Apple retail stores are backed by major national unions and are preparing to file paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) soon.
Last week, Apple retail workers at the Cumberland Mall in Atlanta, Georgia, filed for a union election. The employees are unionizing with the Communications Workers of America. At least a half dozen more locations are purportedly at less-advanced stages in the unionization process.
Bloomberg has reported that Apple is giving many of its retail workers raises due to inflation, the difficult labor market, and complaints about working conditions.
The wage rates offered by Apple are generally in line with the pay of other retail jobs. However, Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world, and these workers think they should share more of the success.
What’s more, employees organizing a union at Apple’s Grand Central retail store in New York City are seeking minimum pay for all workers of US$30 per hour, reports CNBC.
They’re also seeking improved benefits including tuition reimbursement, more accessible vacation time and better retirement options. An Apple employee-led organizing committee is collecting authorization cards, which determines the level of unionization support at the workplace, according to CNBC.
Now The Verge reports that Apple is working with anti-union lawyers at Littler Mendelson in an escalating fight with retail workers in Atlanta who have filed for a union election. Though the company has not publicly stated its stance on Apple Stores unionizing, “the move sends a strong signal that it plans to oppose workers organizing for better pay and working conditions,” the article adds.
Littler is currently representing Starbucks in its efforts to fight off worker organizing. It previously helped McDonald’s avoid responsibility in a 2014 case that alleged the company, as a joint employer, violated labor laws by retaliating against workers who participated in the Fight for $15 campaign.