Workers at New York Apple store launch union campaign

Monday, April 18, 2022 at 9:30pm UTC

Workers at Apple's Grand Central Station store announced Monday they are organizing to establish a union, in what would be a first at one of the tech giant's retail locations in the United States.

The effort, calling itself "Fruit Stand Workers United," aims to garner signatures from at least 30 percent of the New York store, the minimum needed to qualify for a unionization election.

The campaign is connected to Workers United, an affiliate of the national Service Employees International Union, which was established in 2009 from several earlier unions.

Workers United confirmed its involvement.

"Like so many recent campaigns, this has been worker-driven, and worker led," Workers United said in an email. "We recognize the tremendous bravery and courage these workers have taken to stand up for their rights, and we will support them every step of the way."

Organizers of the Grand Central campaign described themselves as working in "extraordinary times with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and once-in-a-generation consumer price inflation," though their website did not disclose the name of staff members leading the effort.

"Grand Central is an extraordinary store with unique working conditions that make a union necessary to ensure our team has the best possible standards of living," the workers said on the campaign website for the prospective union.

The Apple effort comes as a Starbucks unionization drive backed by Workers United has spread nationally after election victories last year in New York.

Amazon is also facing a growing challenge from unions after an upstart campaign won an election at a warehouse in nearby Staten Island earlier this month. A vote at a second Staten Island Amazon site is scheduled for later in April.

On Monday, the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees union elections, indicated it received enough signatures from another Amazon warehouse to hold a vote in Bayonne, New Jersey at a site with about 200 workers.

Employees working in at least three other Apple stores are also attempting to organize, according to The Washington Post.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.