Apple workers at NYC store hope to be next in Big Tech unionisation

New York, April 19 (IANS) Employees at an Apple New York City store in Grand Central Terminal have started collecting signatures to form a union.
 
Apple workers at NYC store hope to be next in Big Tech unionisation

<br>The story was first reported by The Washington Post.

So far, no Apple store has successfully formed a union. The organisers call themselves 'Fruit Stand Workers United', and announced in an update on their website that they voted to affiliate themselves with the Workers United labour union on February 21, 2022.

Recently, the Workers United backed the unionisation efforts at Starbucks across the US.

Organisers at Apple Grand Central are handing out signature cards so employees can express interest in forming a union.

If at least 30 per cent sign, the organisers can file a petition with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a union election.

"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," the organisers' website reads, citing inflation rates and pandemic-related store closures.

The Washington Post had earlier reported that several Apple stores were getting ready to unionise amid complaints that wages can't keep up with the skyrocketing rate of inflation and poor working conditions.

The Post's recent report suggests that "at least three" other Apple store locations are progressing towards forming a union.

Apple's reaction seemed politically correct but far from supportive.

"We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to The Post.

"We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees, including healthcare, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits," the statement added.

Earlier this year, Apple had increased benefits for both part-time and full-time retail employees following media reports, led by The Verge, that Apple store employees are struggling over wages and working environment.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, retail workers have also dealt with changing mask guidance, store closures, as well as a requirement to submit proof of a Covid-19 booster shot or show a negative Covid-19 test report before entering the store.

Apple isn't alone. Earlier this month, in a first for the company, Amazon workers at the Staten warehouse in Long Island succeeded in unionising.

On Monday, Amazon workers at a small facility in New Jersey showed enough interest to hold a vote on unionising.

At least 60 of 200 workers from Amazon's DNK5 depot in Bayonne, New Jersey, have submitted cards seeking to organise as part of Local 713 International Brotherhood of the Trade Union, the NLRB said.

There seems growing interest among Big Tech workers to unionise -- even as the employers have little patience for unions in their US operations.

(Nikhila Natarajan tracks Big Tech in the U.S. Tweets @byniknat)

--IANS<br>nikhila/arm