Fruit Stand Workers United, the union trying to organize Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store, says that if the campaign succeeds, it plans to demand a minimum wage of $30 an hour for the location’s employees (via CNBC). The union updated its website on Monday with its goals, including a pay rise, health and safety research, and better education and pension benefits.
A $30 minimum wage means that a full-time worker would earn about $62,000 per year. The union also wants pay to be calculated using a “role, tenure and performance matrix.”
Fruit Stand Workers United also says it wants to negotiate increases in vacation accrual, 401(k) matching rates and tuition reimbursement, as well as more retirement options, such as retirement plans. The union also calls on Apple to “research security protocols involving customer interactions, and investigate rail dust, health effects of building materials, and noise pollution in Grand Central.”
In major cities such as New York, there is great concern about vehicle-related pollutants, such as brake dust and exhaust fumes. And while noise is a problem for nearly all New Yorkers, it seems to be especially a problem for employees of a store in one of the city’s busiest train terminals.
While the site doesn’t explicitly mention COVID-19 in its health and safety section, Apple has made many changes to its retail operations over the course of the pandemic, including opening and closing retail locations as well as setting, removing, and restoring masks. permissions for customers. In Texas, Apple reportedly closed a store temporarily when three employees tested positive shortly after Black Friday.
Last week, Fruit Stand Workers United announced that employees will sign cards to indicate that they are interested in joining a union. If more than 30 percent of workers at the site sign, Fruit Stand Workers United can officially petition the National Labor Relations Board to hold elections.
The ambitious demands come amid a wave of organizational efforts at both tech and retail companies. Amazon warehouse workers in New York voted to unionize earlier this month, and workers at several Starbucks locations also voted for employee representation. (According to the site, Fruit Stand Workers United is affiliated with the union behind the efforts at Starbucks.)
In recent weeks, Google Fiber contractors and employees at two Verizon retail locations have also voted to unionize. Verizon announced yesterday that it has increased its minimum wage to $20 for retail and customer service representatives, with the proviso that, for retail employees, the $20 amount is the sum of their salary and “target commission.”