Two major U.S. union bodies are lending their support to the workers at Apple’s Grand Central Station retail store in New York City.
“In the truest form of trade union solidarity, Workers United and the Communications Workers of America (CWA), together with the organizing committee of Fruit Stand Workers United(FSWU) have agreed that CWA will provide support to FSWU’s union organizing efforts at Apple’s Grand Central Station store in New York City,” the CWA announced on Wednesday.
The group says that Apple’s union group, FSWU, had approached Workers United, the same group supporting Starbucks workers in their quest to form Unions.
Lynne Fox, International President of Workers United said that the CWA “has a national plan that will lead to density and collective power for Apple Retail workers” and that it would be didn’t want to chase “hot shops” “to the detriment of the collective good of the campaign.”
Apple’s Grand Central Station store employs more than 270 workers and FSWU says that through its alliance with CWA and WU it intends “to participate with countless other stores to achieve workers’ rights across Apple Retail in the U.S.”
In April workers at the Grand Central store announced their plans to push for a union, and demands to the tune of $30/hour starting pay, better vacations, and retirement policies.
Under pressure from such movements, Apple has already agreed to give workers more favorable working patterns and hours, and has said it will bring forward its annual pay review by three months and increase its minimum hourly pay rate from $20 to $22.
Apple stores in the U.S. and worldwide are pivotal in the company’s quest to sell devices like its best iPhone, the iPhone 13, and internally Apple believes that retail stores are its most important product. Other stores in the U.S. have also publicly announced their plans to unionize, and Apple has drawn criticism for hiring the “union-busting” law firm Littler Mendelson, also in the employ of Starbucks. The company has also been accused of employing other union-busting tactics including sending anti-union talking points to managers and forcing workers to attend “captive audience” meetings, as well as restricting the posting of fliers.
In a statement Apple previously told iMore:
“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.”