Apple Store logoSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple store workers in the U.S. are preparing to unionize.
  • At least two stores are backed by major national unions and are preparing to file paperwork.
  • More stores are also having talks, spurred by Apple's record financial performance and stagnating wages.

Apple employees at multiple U.S. retail stores are preparing to unionize, says a new report.

From The Washington Post:

Employees at several Apple Stores across the country are quietly working to unionize, according to people familiar with the efforts, as growing dissent among hourly workers threatens to disrupt one of the most stolid tech giants. 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) in the near future, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential plans. At least a half dozen more locations are at less-advanced stages in the unionization process, these people say.

The report says that workers are being spurred on by their stagnating wages, which have fallen below the rate of inflation, and the success of Starbucks employees in creating unions.

Employees interviewed by the Post stated that they hadn't shared in the companies gains, with workers making less and selling more products. One said "I have a lot of co-workers and friends who I genuinely love and they do not make enough to get by. They're struggling and they're hurting and we work for a company that has the resources to make sure that they're taken care of."

Apple recently started giving out raises to U.S. employees ranging between 2% and 10% depending on their role and job location.

The process of forming unions has reportedly been done secretly, with employees worried Apple will try to convince employees to vote against a union:

Before officially filing, Apple Store organizers have been informally gauging interest among the staff, hoping that more than half of the employees will vote to unionize, people familiar with the matter say, the threshold needed to gain official legal standing with the NLRB.

In at least one case, store employees hoped to gain at least 80 percent support before officially filing to form a union. That's because the organizers expect that Apple will try to convince employees to vote against the union.

The report cites employees at one store that said managers had already begun pulling employees aside to try and dissuade them.