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By Rishi Iyengar, CNN Business
Workers at an Apple Store in Atlanta filed for a union election on Wednesday in a bid to become the first group of retail employees at the tech giant to unionize.
Apple workers have filed a request with the Atlanta office of the National Labor Relations Board, the agency confirmed to CNN Business, adding that the office will review the case to ensure that at least 30% of workers have submitted union cards – the minimum requirement to form a union.
More than 70% of more than 100 eligible workers at Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall store have signed union permission cards, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union, which represents Apple employees.
The Atlanta store effort is the latest indication that big tech companies, which have largely avoided unionization among their employees, are now facing a growing number of union pressures among their hourly workers. At least one other Apple outlet is reportedly looking to unionize. Meanwhile, several Amazon warehouses have also attempted to unionize, including one in New York that voted to form the company’s first U.S. union earlier this month.
“Apple is a deeply positive place to work, but we know the company can live its ideals better, and so we’re excited to join our colleagues in bringing Apple to the negotiating table and making it an even better place to work at. work,” said Derrick Bowles, an Apple Genius Bar employee who is part of the organizing effort, in a statement shared by CWA.
The CWA did not explicitly detail the proposed union’s demands, but said in its statement that “Apple retail workers provide essential sales and repair services to a range of customers, but have been refuse a living wage, cost-of-living adjustments or fair stock options”. .”
Apple has more than 270 stores in the United States and tens of thousands of retail employees in the United States. The starting wage for retail workers is $20 per hour, or about $40,000 per year for a full-time employee. The average hourly wage for retail workers in electronics and appliance stores nationwide is about $25.50 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s all the workers in the sector, not the starting salary.
In response to a request for comment, Apple did not directly address the Atlanta union election file, but reiterated a previous statement that it is “pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits to employees at full-time and part-time, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants, and many other benefits.
The Atlanta store’s filing comes a day after reports of a similar organizing effort at an Apple Store in New York. Workers at a Grand Central Terminal store have begun collecting signatures to file a petition to unionize, the first step in a labor organizing effort, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.
– Sara Ashley O’Brien and Chris Isidore of CNN Business contributed to this report.
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