Apple store in Atlanta is the first to file for union election

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An employee arranges Apple iPhones as customer shop at the Apple Store on 5th Avenue shortly after new products went on sale in Manhattan, in New York City, March 18, 2022.
Mike Segar | Reuters

An Apple retail store in the Cumberland Mall in Atlanta, Georgia, has filed for a union election, the Communication Workers of America announced on Wednesday. The National Labor Relations Board confirmed that it had received the petition.

The Cumberland Mall location is the first Apple store in the U.S. to file for a union election and is a key development in Apple employee efforts to unionize its retail workforce and negotiate for better pay and benefits.

Over 70% of the store’s more than 100 eligible employees have signified interest in unionizing, according to a press release. Organizers are asking for base wages of $28 per hour, larger raises to offset inflation, and profit-sharing options for retail employees, according to Bloomberg Law, which first reported the election.

If over 50% of the eligible workers end up voting for the union, the store would become the first unionized Apple retail store.

The Cumberland Mall location is seeking representation from the Communication Workers of America. A separate store in New York City is seeking representation from Workers United and is currently collecting signatures.

The union effort in Atlanta is the latest example of workers flexing their power for better pay and working conditions. Workplace activism is rising across the country during an inflationary environment and as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced frontline workers to reexamine the risks and benefits of their jobs.

Amazon workers voted to form a union at a Staten Island warehouse earlier this month. Starbucks locations across the country have voted to unionize in the past month.

Apple retail employee salaries start at $20 per hour, an Apple spokesman told CNBC.

“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,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement.

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