Apple Store employees at the company’s flagship Grand Central Terminal location have begun collecting signatures to form a union, according to The Washington Post. In a recent update to their website, the organizers leading the effort say they voted on February 21st to affiliate themselves with Workers United. That’s the same labor union that has helped Starbucks employees across the US unionize.
“Grand Central is an extraordinary store with unique working conditions that make a union necessary to ensure our team has the best possible standards of living in what have proven to be extraordinary times with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and once-in-a-generation consumer price inflation,” the group, known as the Fruit Stand Workers United, said.
Apple declined to tell The Post whether it would support the unionization effort. Those involved in the drive accused the company of employing “union busting” tactics, including messaging that has tried to convince workers that unionization is against their best interests.
“We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple,” a spokesperson for the company told The Post. “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.”
Apple operates more than 270 stores in the US alone. According to The Post, at least three other retail locations are in the process of attempting to form a union. Organizers at the company’s Grand Central location are handing out signature cards. If at least 30 percent of the store’s workers say they’re interested in exploring unionization, Fruit Stand Workers United can petition the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election.
Amid a pandemic that has had a disproportionate effect on essential workers, many workplaces across the US have begun to unionize, including, most notably, Amazon’s JFK8 fulfillment center on Staten Island. At the start of April, a majority of workers at the warehouse voted to form the first-ever Amazon union. The effort was successful despite the company spending $4.3 million on anti-union consultants in 2021.