Apple employees at Grand Central Terminal store move to form union United

Workers at Apple’s flagship retail store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal have taken steps to form a union, per a website updated by the organizers.

Why is it important: If organizers are successful, it would be the first Apple store to unionize, according to the Washington Postwho first announced the move on Saturday.

Driving the news: The Pacific Blue Collar Organizing Committee (OC) said in the website update that workers at the Manhattan store voted Feb. 21 to join Workers United, a national union that the site says has helped Starbucks workers to organize successfully across the United States.

  • The website says “Apple Stores in the United States are organizing” and WashPost reports that workers at “at least three other” iPhone maker retail stores in the United States are considering unionizing.
  • “Grand Central is an extraordinary store with unique working conditions that make it necessary to unite to ensure our team has the best possible standard of living in what has been proven be extraordinary times,” according to the website.
  • The website outbound links to a report on Apple temporarily closing in-store shopping in North American locations, including New York last December due to spikes in COVID-19 and an article on inflation hitting a new 40-year high in February to support his point.

What they say : Apple did not confirm whether or not it would support its employees’ attempts to unionize, but said in a statement to WashPost that the company is “lucky to have incredible members of the retail team. and we deeply appreciate everything they bring to Apple.”

  • “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, grants annual shares and many other benefits,” the statement added.

Our thought bubble, via Ina Fried of Axios: Of all the tech companies, Apple is known for being the most secretive and imposing strict limits on what Apple employees can say or do, suggesting that a union push would be considered the most unwelcome.

  • At the same time, the company may fear that any harsh anti-union tactics will harm the public image of the company.

The big picture: After decades of shunning unions, tech workers are increasingly interested in ways the labor movement can help them make their voices heard within their powerful organizations like Amazon and Google, according to Fried.

  • The pandemic has had a big impact on workers, who are increasingly banding together to lobby employers and raise awareness of the health and safety issues they face at work, notes Joann Muller of Axios.
  • Representatives for Apple and Workers Unite did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.

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