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Big Apple Apple Store workers hope to form union

Amazon staff success spurs similar spirit in NYC for a sporting share of super-profits

Apple Store staff in New York City are attempting to form a union – and want the minimum wage to be increased to $30 per hour.

A group known as the Fruit Stand Workers Union (FSWU) is spearheading the effort to gather signatures from at least 30 percent of staff working at the Apple Store in Grand Union station, so it can file a petition to be officially recognized by the National Relations Union Board.

"A union at Grand Central will provide job security through a negotiated 'for cause' provision; it will provide additional resources to all workers such as mortgage financing; but most of all, it will fulfill three pillars we always sought during this movement: better pay for all covered workers, more robust benefits, and a thorough analysis of our work conditions, mainly relating to health and safety," the FSWU said on its website.

The union promised to fight for a $30 minimum hourly wage – the exact amount per worker would be calculated from a matrix based on role, tenure, and performance – more vacation days, higher match rates for 401(k) pension plans, and improved health and safety conditions. The organizing committee at the Grand Central location said it voted to side with Workers United, the labor union currently helping Starbucks employees unionize in February, earlier this year.

If the committee successfully obtains enough signatures and is approved by the NLRB, it can start preparing for a union election. Workers can then vote to decide if they want to be represented by the union to collectively bargain with their employer. The Fruit Stand Workers United would be the first US Apple Store to go union, if successful.

Apple employs more than 65,000 retail workers, who make from $17 to more than $30 an hour, across its 270 stores in the US, according to the Washington Post. The Fruit Stand Workers Union and Apple did not immediately respond to The Register's request for comment. 

Amazon primed the pump

Efforts to unionize at other Big Tech companies are also underway. Amazon workers at a warehouse in Bayonne, New Jersey also filed a petition for a representation election, records submitted to the NLRB show.

Amazon workers at the JFK8 fulfillment center on Staten Island, New York, voted to unionize under the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) earlier this month, marking the first successful campaign of its kind against the e-commerce giant. 

In related news, a judge ordered Amazon to reinstate a former warehouse employee, who was fired two years ago for protesting over safety conditions at JFK8 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gerald Bryson was unfairly dismissed and should be given his job back and deserves to be paid any lost wages, according to the ruling [PDF]. ®

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