Union wins right to represent workers at Apple Store for the first time – NewsOpener

The US labor market has been tilting more strongly in favor of workers over the past two years. There are now nearly twice as many job opportunities for the unemployed looking for work, leaving employers scrambling to fill jobs. The number of employees recently laid off or laid off has reached a record low. And the number of employees who quit their jobs, usually because they found better opportunities, is still close to recent records. This has made employees dissatisfied with their jobs more willing to demand better working conditions, including through unions.

Issues beyond wages

Kristi Bridgen, the store’s technical expert and one of the organizers, said the main issue that led to the regulatory vote was workers’ desire to have a say in the way the store was run. Bridgen, 34, said she has worked at the store for more than 8 years.

“Compensation is important, given the overall cost of living and inflation, but the biggest thing is to have a say,” she told CNN Business Saturday night after the vote. “That was the most important thing for me.”

Bridgen said workers who have a say in hours, scheduling and co-creation of safety protocols during the pandemic have been the big issues.

“We wanted her to have a say in the policies that affect our lives,” she said, adding that she was not surprised by the outcome of the vote, but was relieved.

“I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling frustrated,” she said. As for whether she was considering leaving Apple for another job, she said she felt as though her co-workers were some kind of family.

“I’m not ready to leave here because of my relationship with my teammates,” she said.

that apple (AAPL) The spokesperson declined to comment on the vote.

“We are fortunate to have such incredible members of the retail team and we deeply appreciate everything they bring to Apple,” the company said in a statement ahead of the vote. “We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits to full-time and part-time employees, including healthcare, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock awards and many other benefits.”

The union that won the vote is called the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCORE for short. It was supported by the largest International Association of Machinists, known for its strength of Boeing production workers as well as many employees in the US aerospace industry.

“I applaud the courage shown by the CORE members at the Apple Store in Tucson to achieve this historic victory,” said Robert Martinez, IAM International President. “They have made tremendous sacrifices for the thousands of Apple employees across the country who have been observing this election.”

The vote on the Apple Store comes on the heels of the union’s victory in April at Amazon’s distribution center in Staten Island, New York, the first Amazon (AMZN) Facilities to vote for the union. there You have she has It’s also been a streak of union wins at Starbucks stores nationwide since late last year.

The victory in an Apple store in Maryland came after union supporters at the Apple Store in Atlanta withdrew their request for a vote. The company challenges the union win at the Staten Island Amazon. This was followed by a failed attempt by a different consortium to represent Amazon’s distribution center in Alabama. Later, there was a union loss at a facility near Amazon, also on Staten Island.

Winning union votes is still tough

Yet unions winning the organized vote is an uphill battle. Even with all the successful votes in Starbucks (SBUX) In stores, the union won the right to represent only approximately 5,000 of the 235,000 employees in the 9,000 Starbucks stores owned by the US company. Amazon’s distribution center in Staten Island had about 8,300 workers while the company has more than one million American employees overall.

Management often pressures employees to vote against the union, arguing that working conditions concerns would be difficult to address if there was a union, or that employees would be paid less and would have to pay union dues if they voted to organize. For example, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced a salary increase for most of the company’s American employees that would not apply to workers in stores that voted for a union, saying that a potential wage increase would now be subject to negotiation.

Workers could also be concerned that the company might shut down a site that votes for a union while keeping others open. Workers in the Ithaca, New York, Starbucks store claim their location is closed due to a successful union effort. The company denies union voting is the reason for the shutdown plans, but the union has filed an unfair complaint about doing business.

Advantages that management possesses in The defeat of union efforts brought the proportion of American workers affiliated with a union to 10.3% in 2021, down from 20.1% in 1983. Nearly half of union members work at some level of government. Overall, only 6.1% of private sector employees are members of unions, including 4.4% of retail employees, mostly in grocery stores.

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