Some U.S. Apple Retail Store employees are working to unionize

Employees at some Apple Retail Stores in the U.S. are working to unionize, The Washington Post reports on Friday, citing “people familiar with the efforts.”

iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV 4K arrive in Apple Retail Stores with eye-catching window displays
Apple Retail Store

Reed Albergotti for The Washington Post:

Groups at at least two Apple retail stores are backed by major national unions and are preparing to file paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the near future, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential plans. At least a half dozen more locations are at less-advanced stages in the unionization process, these people say.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple operates more than 270 retail store in the United States.

Spurred by wages that have stagnated below the rate of inflation, and encouraged by successful efforts by Starbucks employees to form unions, retail workers say they hope they can push the world’s most valuable company to share more of its record-setting profits with the workers who sell, repair and troubleshoot the products it sells.

Retail employees interviewed by The Washington Post say they haven’t shared in the company’s gains. Apple retail employees can earn anywhere from $17 to more than $30 per hour, depending on their market and position, and receive between $1,000 and around $2,000 in stock, they said. But those wages have not kept up with inflation over the years, they say, which means retail employees are making less as they sell more Apple products… Meanwhile, Apple’s board this year proposed a $99 million compensation package for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

In recent weeks, Apple has offered raises to some of its retail employees. But workers at several Apple Stores said the raises in some cases backfired. Some employees got raises of less than a dollar per hour, when they were hoping for more than $5. Many employees say they got raises that don’t compensate for recent inflation. Because of inflation, they effectively make less money than when they started, they added.

MacDailyNews Take: Jobs are valued by supply and demand. The skillset for a retail employee is different than that for, say, a software engineer. Potential retail employees are an order of magnitude more plentiful than software engineers and the wages paid for each job reflect that discrepancy.

You’re not going to get rich working in retail. There are simply too many other people capable of doing your job. Nobody likes to hear that their job is a dime a dozen. Regardless, retail jobs are a dime a dozen.

If retail workers unionize, they can, and do, force abnormal wages and benefits that do not reflect the reality of supply and demand for such positions.

What happens next (besides backroom graft and corruption between union bosses and politicians)?

The corporation is forced to overpay unionized staff to do tasks that, in a free and unfettered market, should cost the company far less. Therefore, to maintain margins and profitability (in order to satisfy the company’s shareholders and the market), the company is forced to either cut back in other areas or raise prices for goods and services. The company cannot “absorb the cost” longterm.

Talk about inflation.

That said, yes, executive compensation is out of whack. Tim Cook is vastly overpaid for what he does. This is because he holds a rare skillset and it benefits the shareholders to have continuity in the CEO position. Basically, Apple overpays Tim Cook in order to have a long-term CEO which provides confidence to the market. A succession of different CEOs jumping from company to company every other year seeking higher salaries would be a negative and justifies Cook’s overpayment. Cook is paid to stay more than for what he actually does. This is why he has vesting targets set years into the future. If he stays, providing continuity, he benefits and so does the company’s stock price.

Not so for retail employees. If one leaves, there’s a line of others to replace them. Sure, there are excellent retail employees and, if Apple’s retail arm is functioning properly, they are being identified and rewarded in order to keep them, as their continued employment benefits the company, the company’s customers, and the company’s shareholders.

If Apple is not functioning properly, unionization is the last resort of employees. Just know that those costs will eventually be passed to the customer. Someone has to pay. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If those unionization costs are too high (which they tend to become over time), it will hurt the company (consumers will look for similar goods and services offered at significantly lower prices) and the retail workers will eventually feel negative effects from that (see: unions and Detroit’s automotive industry, what’s left of it).

Back in the day, unions corrected many wrongs: unsafe working conditions, forced overtime without pay, child labor, etc. None of these situations are faced by Apple Retail employees today. Some retail staffers simply want higher pay than the actual value of their work in a free market, so they want to band together to force it.

In many union settings, workers face limited advancement based on their merits. Union workers’ avenues for advancement are limited as stipulated by union contracts. So, if you are an exemplary Apple employee today, your prospects are likely brighter than if you were part of a union, subject to certain union rules governing advancement, etc. Retail employees should carefully consider the pitfalls of unionization and the consequences of unintended consequences.

Apple should do all it can, within reason, to satisfy and compensate retail employees. In fact, Apple appears to be doing so. Just this month, Bloomberg News reported that Apple will significantly increase wages and benefits for American retail workers amid a tightening labor market.

Apple plans to adopt the following changes for U.S. workers beginning on April 4th:

• Raises ranging from 2% to 10% depending on store location and role, for salespeople, Genius Bar technical support staff, and some senior hourly workers.

• Doubling paid sick days for both full-time and part-time workers. The days can be used for mental health leave and taking family members to the doctor. This change will give full-time workers 12 paid sick days, instead of six.

• Workers will receive more annual vacation days, beginning at three years of employment instead of five.

• Part-time employees will now get as many as six paid vacation days for the first time. Another first: They’ll get paid parental leave. That benefit will cover up to six weeks and will include the ability to gradually ramp up work time for the first four weeks back.

• Part-time workers also will get access to discounted emergency backup care for children or elderly family members.

Please help support MacDailyNews. Click or tap here to support our independent tech blog. Thank you!

Shop The Apple Store at Amazon.


  1. Do it. Do it. …and watch Apple close the location(s) for some reason just before the vote.
    You are the highest paid and most coddled retail employees in the country. Be grateful, not greedy. Unions KILL companies. They make them less competitive, less nimble, less productive, and weak. Unions increase costs which are passed on to consumers. Unions have no place in America today.

  2. It’s commentary like this (which is more political in nature than Apple or technology specific) that caused me to stop contributing to this site. Reading about Apple is usually a refuge from the political conflicts of the day, which sadly are everywhere. Sigh.

      1. Upset? No. Agree or disagree with the content? Irrelevant. I was a prior contributor to the site because I wanted to support quality reporting on Apple. But I had no interest in supporting political commentary, of which there is more than enough available elsewhere. So I stopped contributing. And knowing why people contribute or don’t contribute could be useful information to the site managers, no?

        1. So, you want articles that involve Apple and politics to be posted here without MacDailyNews Takes?

          Or do you want MacDailyNews to just completely ignore any Apple news that could be deemed “political?”

        2. I suppose I’ll try one more time, but really, only one more time. I’ll contribute to a quality Apple news site that comments on technology, but I choose not to contribute to an Apple site that advocates for a political point of view. It’s simply a spending decision on my part, that I wanted the site managers to be aware of.

        3. Okay, since you’ve so magnanimously deigned to reply “one more time,” I’ll end this discussion:

          You claim to want “quality reporting on Apple,” but you either want MDN to either not comment on any Apple news that touches on what you deem to be “politics” or not cover it at all, as if it isn’t happening.

          That’s illogical.

          Above, MDN covers both sides along with other issues such as executive compensation, but you want to claim MDN “advocates for a political point of view,” when, in fact, they are simply presenting their Take and leaving it up to the readers to decide.

          You don’t seem to like this approach.

          So, you either want certain news to be ignored or only your point of view to be pushed, just like a good little brainwashed CNN viewer.

          Maybe you should go look for a milquetoast Apple “news” site that offers no opinions or only those that reinforce your unquestioning worldview, allowing you to remain free of the trouble of examining alternative points of view?

          There are plenty of Apple “news” sites like that. A dime a dozen, in fact.

        4. What you fail to recognize in three faulty posts not conveying a clear message is this: politics, money, design is in everything to a greater or lesser extent you can’t have one without the other. Got it?

          Back to top post you responded to by @pirate and pay close attention. Not one word of politics was mentioned. NOT ONE. Find the post factual and rational.

          You mentioned politics’ but did not define the nature, what a weasel whine to whine and complain. Suck it up, snowflake…

  3. “Jobs are valued by supply and demand.”

    Except when hampered by non-competes, or temporarily aided by corporate welfare “tax breaks”, soon to be followed by layoffs.

    1. You’re left of center, right? If you’re in the U.S. and vote, I assume you vote Democrat more often than not (or all the time).

      I’d like to share some excerpts of an article with you:

      Corporations Do Not Pay Taxes: They Can’t, They’re Not People

      Any tax is going to mean less money in the wallets of some group of people. The people who have less money after the tax are clearly and obviously the people who are “really” paying this tax.

      Whoever is paying the tax it’s not the company. We’ve known this since 1899 and Edwin Seligman’s “The Shifting And Incidence Of Taxation.”

      This is of course a hugely important point. For example, all those who say that “companies should pay more tax” are simply being ignorant. Companies do not pay tax, cannot pay tax, and thus to call for them to pay more is just displaying that ignorance.

      Companies do not pay taxes, ever. Not one single cent or penny has ever been paid in tax by a company and no system of taxation will ever be able to make them do so. So to call for higher corporate taxation is simply nonsensical.

      Tim Worstall, Forbes, Sep 22, 2011

      1. So then why do corporations like tax breaks so much if they don’t pay taxes.
        And I agree corporations are not people, but tell that to Citizen’s United.

        Your thesis is only topped by the Great Lie, which you also believe.

        1. It’s a simple economic point. Only natural persons can ever bear the burden of a tax: only natural people end up with less cash as the result of the imposition of a tax.

          That corporations are legal people does not change this fact: it only calls into question which people are losing from the imposition of said tax.

          It isn’t, and never has been, the company which actually pays the tax. Sure, they might sign the check but that’s different from bearing the economic burden of the tax. We know, and have known very well for over a century, that the incidence of the corporate income tax is upon some combination of the investors (in lower returns) and the workers in the economy levying the tax (in the form of lower wages). The investors paying means they invest less, the lower wages come from the fact that less investment is done. This basic point is not arguable: we know, absolutely, that it is true. The portions, how much the investors pay and how much the workers, sure, that’s argued about, but not the basic point.

          Public-sector economics has yet to resolve the issue of who bears the burden of taxes on corporate income. Economists recognize that the incidence–that is, the
          distribution of the burden of such taxation–falls ultimately on individuals and not on
          corporations. However, economists argue about who bears the largest burdens. In
          determining the economic effects of the corporate income tax, it is crucial to
          understand the mechanisms by which tax burdens are transferred. The incidence of
          the corporate tax is also an important factor in ascertaining the effects of tax
          proposals on different segments of the population

          Congressional Budget Office Paper: The Incidence of the Corporate Income Tax, March 1996

          I can cite at least a dozen separate CBO reports spanning decades that state the same thing:

          Companies do not pay the corporate income tax. Some mixture of investors and workers do.

        2. And your last sentence shows the semantics and triviality of your point. “Some mixture of investors and workers” as encompassed and represented by a legal construct called a corporation.

        3. I read you are playing the semantics game. So am I to assume you agree with all explanations, no pushback I read, and focus on one insignificant paragraph.

          News for you, the paragraph you call semantics is a summation of the post if you read it carefully. But I guess in your tedious mind pointing it out gives you comfort from dealing with the reality of the full post…

        4. @GoeB

          “….or temporarily aided by “Some mixture of investors and workers” welfare “tax breaks”, soon to be followed by layoffs.”


  4. Yup. Unions have wanted into Apple is the worst way. They see piles of gold cash awaiting them… And if they can sew dis-satisfaction amongst the store staff they are golden.

    However, turnover is decently big at Apple, so difficult to get a strong contingency with it.

    Also, the fundamental question to any employee looking at a Union is simply this:

    – Do you want to represent yourself or do you want to become anonymous and have an organization represent you – for better or worse.

    I’ve personally worked under both. In a Union you don’t get to work OT unless that’s been negotiated. I couldn’t stand and and get promotions and push ahead faster. Competition is all but eliminated. I simply get set raises after working so many hours, good, bad, ugly, makes no difference. To me, it was the sloth that wanted this, but I did not. I hated it. I could look around and see how I could out-work and out perform others, get bigger raises and compete. In my union job this was all washed away, the quality of worker wasn’t as motivated at all, and it was “just a job” not something aspiring any longer.

    I have auto worker friends who have worked at both types of shops. Hands down, every one of them loves the non-union shop 10x more and would never go back to a Unionized work force.

  5. Worker unions simply promote better wages, working conditions, health, and safety. I do not begrudge worker unions which attempt to counter corporate unions, especially when corporate unions have so much power that they are able to influence the writing of laws that oppress workers, are anti-information, and reduce consumer freedom. For example, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a powerful corporate union consisting, among others, of Coca Cola an Kellog, spend millions to defeat Prop 14 in CA which would have mandated GMO labeling. Now it’s only voluntary with some manufactures declining to state and, those that do, can stop at any time as if they were Medieval lords of the manor which they are clearly not. I therefore support the unionization of low wage workers because they are otherwise fundamentally powerless even at Apple.

    1. You sound like a gullible fool.

      Obama was our first — and hopefully, last — Red Diaper president, steeped in Marxian thinking practically from birth.

      He was the Frankfurt School’s Manchurian candidate, if you will.

      Marxian thought is different from Marxist thought as defined by Your Friendly Neighborhood VodkaPundit. Marxists use class warfare, racial resentment, etc., for old-school stuff like “seizing the means of production” and establishing a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Marxian thinkers are too cool for all that discredited Soviet stuff — they know there’s no money in it. But they’re happy to use class warfare, etc., for the sake of getting rich. Big Business is happy to go Woke because it’s a way of squashing competition under the pretense of moral superiority. But I digress.

      Marxian thought is known by another name: Cultural Marxism.

      As insidious as the Cultural Marxists always were and as powerful as they’ve become, once Obama brought them out in the open, it was inevitable that they’d face pushback… from their largest constituency: working-class Americans.

      Generally speaking, they don’t hate this country (like the Marxians do), and they don’t see themselves as oppressors (as the wokesters insist the white ones are) or as the oppressed (as the wokesters insist the POCs are).

      Having been ignored or disdained for years, the woke madness this country has endured since 2020 has finally pushed blue-collar voters over the edge.

      Stephen Green, February 18, 2022

      What hath Oblahblah wrought, you ask?

      On Real Clear Politics’ question of the “generic” ballot for 2022, the Republicans have topped 47 percent of voter support.

      Back in the Trump wave of 2016, congressional Republicans received a max of 45.4 percent. In 2014, in which the Republicans took back Congress, they achieved a high of 46.6 percent, which was up from the 46 percent the GOP received in 2012.

      You have to look back 12 years, when the GOP slaughtered Democrats to take over the House, to find the party in the rarefied air it now inhabits. And even then, the harbinger of the “red tsunami” was not evident until August that year. At this point in 2010, the GOP was at 45.2 percent – a full two percentage points below where it is now.

      Note also that the 2020 generic ballot polling badly underestimated Republican support on Election Day. The final average that year put the GOP at just 42.5 percent but the party ended up taking 47.7 percent of the vote on November 3.

      The Democrat Party bloodbath arrives in 262 days.

      Mark my words:


  6. Considering Apple’s net worth and free cash flow, a dividend increase could help and it surely makes sense in comparison to divi’s of number of other companies.

    Then again, per the Retail folks and some others, it would never be enough. Seeing other’s wealth always seems to bring a “right of ownership,” or “mandate to share” imposition. Oh sorry, that might be political.

    Another suggestion: find a a job with a better fit. I hear there are openings everywhere and wages are up.

  7. The union movement gave America the middle class. It’s that simple. In the 40 years since Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, and the union movement began its long decline, wages for most workers have stagnated, the federal minimum wage hasn’t kept up with either inflation or productivity, shift workers are treated like crap, and the gulf between rich and poor is the largest it’s been in 100 years.

    Whether or not you belong to a union, we NEED strong unions to fight back against increasingly powerful (and miserly) corporations.

    By the way, I have never been in a union, but have worked at two organizations where unions were represented. And while I hated the protections they had in place for sub-par employees (one of whom I desperately wanted to get fired when I was their manager), I was able to enjoy the fruits of the labor movement: excellent health coverage, vacation days, short- and long-term disability protection, a decent pension, and so on.

  8. Certainly most retail workers, Apple Store employees included, could be earning higher wages. It would be helpful too if they had better access to the administrative controls for Apple’s devices. I recently visited The Apple Store for assistance with a disabled iPhone SE, they were unable to remedy the problem, their diagnostic procedure lead to a recommendation for the unnecessary replacement of a hardware component. Apple Store employees are not even permitted to acknowledge certain problems related to the administrative policies of Apple Inc., this is clearly an indication of their collective lack of status in the organization.

    Details of the store visit and technical problems are further described in “Apple’s Remote Administration and Disabling of Devices”
    View at

  9. You won’t get rich working retail? I did as a lowly specialist at Apple Stores. 401 K and stock purchase plans were amazing and I can retire very comfortable thanks to their extensive benefits even to part timers like me. Less $8 coffees and more discounted stock makes it happen. I think most of the complainers have never had a real job, one that expects them to actually work. Too many psych majors or “studies” grads working there.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.