Apple Store workers in Atlanta will hold union vote in June

The process starts on June 2nd.

Brandon Bell via Getty Images

Workers at the first US Apple Store to file for a union election will decide whether to unionize next month. According to an agreement obtained by The Verge, employees at Apple's Cumberland Mall retail location in Atlanta will begin voting on June 2nd, with the ballot box open until June 4th. All approximately 100 regular full- and part-time staff at the store will be able to participate in the election.

Citing “a source familiar with the situation,” The Verge reports Apple wanted the vote held in July. That was a move the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union that seeks to represent the employees at the Cumberland Mall location, reportedly opposed on account the later date would have afforded Apple more time to attempt to dissuade workers from unionizing. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.

Apple hasn’t explicitly come out against its frontline workers organizing, but those involved in the union drive at the company’s Grand Central Terminal location in New York have accused Apple of employing “union-busting” tactics, including messaging that has tried to convince employees that unionization isn’t in their best interests.

“We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple,” the company said when news of the Grand Central Terminal drive first broke. “We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits.”

Among other concessions, workers at the Cumberland Mall location hope to push Apple to compensate them better, offer more opportunities for career advancement and build a safer workplace. "One of the biggest things that we're fighting for is going to be for fair pay and a livable wage, because with Atlanta being such a huge city, it's just getting more and more expensive to live here," Elli Daniels, an employee at the store, told Engadget. "Everybody deserves the opportunity to be able to not worry about whether they can afford food or pay their bills. Everybody deserves to be able to afford to live in the city that they work in."

Like the recent vote at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, the Cumberland Mall election could have historic ramifications. If workers vote in favor of organizing with the CWA, it would become the first unionized Apple Store in the US. That’s an outcome that could inspire Apple workers at other retail locations.