Employees at an Apple retail store in Georgia were inspired by Amazon workers who attempted to unionize a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, during the Covid pandemic.
The comments made by members of the Apple union organizing committee show that the high-profile union drive at an Amazon warehouse last year is having an impact on other technology companies, even though it failed.
Derrick Bowles, who is on the Apple Retail Union organizing committee said: “The unionization effort at the Apple store in the Cumberland Mall in Atlanta started last summer, seeing what was happening in Bessemer, Alabama, with the Amazon warehouse,”
The media coverage of the union drive inspired him to unionize his own workplace.
This led him to the AFL-CIO and the Communications Workers of America, which will represent the Georgia store if employees vote to unionize in an election expected in the coming weeks.
He hasn’t met any of the Bessemer organizers but says he has a “massive amount of respect” for what they did.
Over 70% of the store’s 107 eligible employees signed cards signifying interest in unionizing, according to an NLRB filing. More have been added since the union drive went public, the organizers said.
If successful, the Cumberland Mall store could be the first unionized Apple location.
Amazon has been engrossed in a labor dispute in Bessemer, Alabama, since 2020. Amazon fought back hard against workers who wanted to join the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, creating websites urging workers to “do it without dues” and supervising the installation of a contentious mailbox in front of the facility to collect votes.
The organizers stated that they are not angry with Apple and believe it is a good company that fights for the safety of its employees.
But they also want a seat at the table to demand higher wages to keep up with the cost of living and to have a say in workplace safety issues such as any future store masking rules.
Elli Daniels, who is on the organizing committee, said “Apple will hire the coolest people that have the most amazing abilities, thoughts, and ideas.
“What really brought me to the table of the union was having all of these incredible minds coming together to make sure that, not only do we have that strength in numbers, but also, ‘we know what’s best for us.’”
Earlier this week, employees at Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store in New York City revealed that they had started to collect signatures in order to file with the NLRB for a union election with Workers United.
The organizers are asking for better wages and benefits, including a minimum wage of $30 per hour.