Apple has become the latest tech firm to face trade union pressure, with Atlanta store staff set to hold a vote on the matter.

CNBC reported that it has reviewed a NLRB filing which showed that Apple store staff in Atlanta will vote from 2 June to potentially form the first unionised Apple retail location.

The Atlanta staff are not alone. Last month it was reported that staff at Apple’s flagship store in New York were taking the first steps to organise a trade union.

Union vote

Organisers calling themselves the Fruit Stand Workers United (FSWU) were said to be working for Apple retail workers at the company’s flagship Grand Central Terminal store in Manhattan.

The FSWU however are still in the first step process of collecting signatures from workers.

But staff at the Apple store location in the Cumberland Mall in Atlanta look to be more advanced in the process, after they filed for a union drive in April.

According to CNBC, they will begin casting their votes on 2 June.

In order to be certified, more than 50 percent of the store’s around 100 eligible employees will need to vote to be represented by the Communications Workers of America.

Organisers previously told CNBC more than 70 percent of the store’s employees signed cards expressing interest in unionising.

If the vote is successful, the Atlanta Apple store would become the first unionised Apple retail outlet in the United States.

The election will take place in person and will run from Thursday, 2 June through Saturday, 4 June, CNBC reported.

Apple staff cannot post their ballots.

The stipulated agreement between the NLRB and Apple means that there won’t need to be a hearing before the election is scheduled and moves the process along faster, a CWA representative told CNBC.

Organisers at the Cumberland store say their demands include cost of living adjustments and “real living wages” for employees, as well as increased access to career development and more diverse management.

Union drive

Big businesses in the United States are seeing renewed interest in trade unions, amid a rising tide of workplace activism as staff demand better pay and working conditions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and rising inflation.

Amazon for example for the first time in it’s nearly 28-year history, saw staff at the JFK8 warehouse in the New York City borough of Staten Island vote for organised labour.

However this week union campaigners at a second Amazon facility lost a vote when staff at the company’s sorting centre (LDJ5), voted 618 to 380 against joining the grassroots Amazon Labor Union (ALU).

Besides Apple’s Atlanta and the the New York City locations, retail staff at the Towson Mall location in Maryland are also holding a union drive, the Washington Post has reported.

If they succeed, they will be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

“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 was quoted by CNBC as saying in a statement.

However there are media reports that Apple is working with well-known anti-union lawyers from Littler Mendelson to respond to organisers in Atlanta.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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