Apple store workers pushing to unionize in New York detail their demands, including a $30 minimum wage
Apple store employees at the Grand Central Terminal location in New York City began collecting signatures needed to form a union last weekend. Now the organizers behind the movement have announced a series of demands on their website, including a $30 minimum hourly pay for all workers.
“For pay, we seek a minimum $30 for all workers, built up on a matrix based on role, tenure, and performance,” the organizers, who have dubbed themselves Fruit Stand Workers United, wrote on their website Monday.
In interviews with the Washington Post, Apple retail employees cited low wages—especially in the face of decades-high inflation rates—and difficult working conditions as main contributors to their decision to begin the unionization process.
At Apple, retail employees can earn $17 to more than $30 per hour depending on their position and location, employees told the Washington Post.
The effort from the Fruit Stand Workers United is the latest in a wave of unionization efforts among retail employees of some of the country’s biggest corporations in an effort to improve labor conditions in the wake of a pandemic that caused massive labor shortages in the U.S. and abroad.
Starbucks employees at 16 locations have already successfully unionized in recent months, and more than 100 others have announced plans to follow. Earlier this month, more than 8,300 Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted to join the independent Amazon Labor Union in a historic vote. Similar efforts have taken place at companies including REI and Activision Blizzard.
According to their site, the workers at the Grand Central Apple store voted by majority on Feb. 21 to affiliate with Workers United, a national labor union that most recently was affiliated with successful unionization efforts at Starbucks locations across the country.
“Like so many recent campaigns, this has been worker-driven, and worker led,” said Workers United in a statement to Fortune. “We recognize the tremendous bravery and courage these workers have taken to stand up for their rights, and we will support them every step of the way.”
On Monday, the organizers also announced a series of benefits they hope to negotiate with Apple if they are able to unionize.
“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,” the organizers wrote. “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.”
If successful, the Grand Central location would become the first Apple store to form a union. At least three other Apple retail locations have also begun the unionization process, according to the Washington Post.
Organizers now need signatures from at least 30% of the roughly 270 eligible employees in order to begin filing a union petition with the National Labor Relations Board, the independent federal agency responsible for protecting workers’ rights.
After attaining the signature threshold, organizers will need a simple majority vote in favor of certifying the union, according to CNBC.
Representatives from Apple did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment at the time of publication. The company has more than 270 retail locations in the U.S. and more than 500 worldwide, according to its website.
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