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Apple Stores employees make effort to unionize


Spurred by wages that have stagnated below the rate of inflation, and encouraged by successful efforts by Starbucks employees to form unions, retail workers say they hope they can push the world’s most valuable company to share more of its record-setting profits with the workers who sell, repair and troubleshoot the products it sells.

Apple has more than 500 retail locations around the world and more than 270 in the United States, according to its website. It employs more than 65,000 retail workers. Sales through Apple retail stores and the Apple website made up 36 percent of the company’s $366 billion in total revenue in the 2021 fiscal year, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Apple has seen astonishing revenue growth in recent years, bringing in $378 billion in the last calendar year, compared with $240 billion in 2017. Its astronomical cash flow has allowed the company to spend tens of billions a year in stock buybacks and dividends for investors, buoying its share price.

Retail employees interviewed by The Washington Post say they haven’t shared in the company’s gains. Apple retail employees can earn anywhere from $17 to more than $30 per hour, depending on their market and position, and receive between $1,000 and around $2,000 in stock, they said. But those wages have not kept up with inflation over the years, they say, which means retail employees are making less as they sell more Apple products.

Employees say Apple’s hourly rates are usually in line with what other retail jobs pay in the regions where they’re employed. But most other retailers do not earn so much in revenue, nor are they valued at near $3 trillion. Apple Store employees interviewed by The Post believe their knowledge and passion for the products help drive sales and that they should share more fully in the company’s success.

“I have a lot of co-workers and friends who I genuinely love and they do not make enough to get by,” said one labor organizer who works at an Apple retail store. “They’re struggling and they’re hurting and we work for a company that has the resources to make sure that they’re taken care of.”

Apple did not have immediate comment.

The labor efforts at Apple Stores come as unions are starting to make a comeback after decades of decline. More than 80 Starbucks venues and counting have filed to unionize since the first store started the trend last August, with a successful vote in December. Last month, employees at an REI store in Manhattan filed to form a union. And employees at Raven Software, a division of Activision Blizzard, formed a union called the Game Workers Alliance last month. Google employees a year ago formed a union, but did not certify with the NLRB.

Not all cases have been successful. In April 2021, employees at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., voted against unionizing in a closely…


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