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Apple Retail Workers Seek to Form Union at New York Flagship Store

A group of employees at Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal store want workers to be paid a minimum of $30 an hour.

Apple logo on a computer
James Martin/CNET

A group of workers attempting to organize a union at Apple's flagship retail store in Manhattan are seeking increased pay and benefits as well as improved working conditions. 

The Grand Central organizers, who are calling themselves the Fruit Stand Workers United, want workers to be paid a minimum of $30 an hour, according to the group's website, which was updated Monday. They're also seeking more "robust" benefits, including increased tuition reimbursement, more vacation time and higher match rates for retirement accounts.

The group says on the site that a union is needed "to ensure our team has the best possible standards of living in what have proven to be extraordinary times with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and once-in-a-generation consumer price inflation." 

The group has begun formally gathering signatures to form a union, The Washington Post reported Saturday. Organizers at Apple's Grand Central Terminal store say they voted Feb. 21 to affiliate with Workers United, the national labor union involved in recent efforts to unionize at Starbucks outlets, the paper reported.

If the organizers can collect enough signatures and then either bring about a successful union vote or prompt Apple to voluntarily recognize a union, the iPhone maker's Grand Central store would, the Post said, become the first of its retail outlets to unionize. At least three additional Apple stores are working toward forming unions, the Post said, citing employees who were granted anonymity.

The news comes just over two weeks after workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, voted in favor of joining a union, a first for Amazon's US facilities.

Apple didn't respond to CNET's request for comment. The Post said the company wouldn't say if it would support or push back against the organizing effort. Instead, it provided a general statement of appreciation for its retail employees, along with an overview of benefits it provides them, including health care, tuition reimbursement and new parental leave.