Apple hired Littler Mendelson, an employment law firm, to ease the labor surge. He also provided store managers with talking points, including that unionization could lead to fewer promotions and rigid schedules, which was reported earlier by Vice. And last week its leaders urged employees not to unionize and said they would raise wages to $22 an hour from $20.
“I worry what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship, an organization that doesn’t have a deep understanding of Apple or our business,” said Deirdre O’Brien, vice president. Apple retail senior, in a statement. video sent to many of the company’s approximately 65,000 employees. The video was reported earlier by The Verge.
Josh Rosenstock, an Apple spokesman, declined a request for an interview with Ms. O’Brien and Alex Burrus, the store manager at Cumberland Mall, which is about 10 miles from downtown Atlanta. And employees who are on the fence or against the union push were reluctant to speak with The New York Times.
In a statement, Mr. Rosenstock said the company offered many benefits to retail employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement and family leave. “We deeply appreciate everything they bring to Apple,” he said.
Apple has countered union pressure even as online ordering diminishes the importance of its stores. About 6% of Apple’s sales come from its outlets, about half the share before the pandemic, according to Loup Ventures, a technology research firm.
Despite the stores’ diminishing financial importance, employees like Rhodes see them as Apple’s physical link to the rest of the world. She started working at Apple because she loved its products. She bought her first iPhone at 16 with the money she earned working at McDonald’s. She became obsessed with the business, tuning into hour-long product events to feed a growing interest in “the way they worked”.
In 2018, she impressed a store technician with her Apple Watch knowledge, leading a manager to encourage her to apply for a job in her hometown of Louisville, Ky. She later moved to Atlanta and transferred to the store. Cumberland Mall, sandwiched between a Bath & Body Works and a Pandora jeweler.