As the conversation around workers’ rights continued to remain heated going deep into 2022, Apple is not immune from the conversation. In fact, an Apple Store in Atlanta may become one of the first to unionize in the United States. The Cumberland Mall store recently filed a petition to allow a vote to unionize which would cover more than 100 eligible employees at the store.
Word of the Atlanta Apple Store employee petition to unionize was first reported by Bloomberg Law. The petition was signed by a notable percentage of the store’s eligible employees and is backed by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a communications technology worker advocate group which has been involved in several recent major efforts to unionize in the tech industry, including that of the Raven Software QA who pursued a union after abrupt layoffs from Activision Blizzard. If the vote is successful, the Cumberland Mall Apple Store in Atlanta would become the first US store to successfully unionize.
In the various talks of workers’ rights that have gone on in the tech industry lately, Apple has come up several times. The company faced a major wave of allegations of workplace toxicity, sexual harassment, and employee abuse/retaliation by senior staff, culminating in the #AppleToo movement. Apple faced further criticism when it seemingly attempted to quell this movement by firing its lead organizer. Apple itself has done little to nothing to publicly address issues within the company which led to #AppleToo, leaving many employees frustrated that they would not be heard willingly by the tech giant.
With that in mind, it would seem the Atlanta Apple Store’s unionization efforts could be the start of further movement for workers’ rights within the employee ranks of the tech giant. A spokesperson for the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has also confirmed that its Atlanta office has received the union petition. If conditions are satisifed, the organization will work with the Atlanta Apple Store to arrange an election. Whether Apple allows it to happen without any resistance is another story. Stay tuned for further updates as we follow this story.