NewsAn historic union election is set for Apple retail...

An historic union election is set for Apple retail workers in Atlanta


Apple retail store workers in Atlanta announced a union election filing with the National Labor Relations Board on April 20. Employees at Apple’s Atlanta store have filed a union election petition, making them the first certified union at Apple and the largest certified unit in the tech retail industry if they are successful in their election efforts. According to the CWA, the workers filed union authorization cards for more than 70 percent of the more than 100 eligible workers, which included salespeople, technicians, creatives, and operational specialists.

There are two levels of workers in the U.S. tech industry: those who design the products and those who sell, repair, and maintain them, as well as those who provide services such as IT support. Despite the fact that retail workers at Apple are well-trained in the sales and repair of a wide range of high-tech products, their wages do not allow them to afford the necessities of daily life. “We want to make sure that every Apple worker is able to afford quality housing and basic living expenses,” said Elli Daniels, an Apple employee and CWA union member.

Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, has filed a petition with the CWA to organize an Apple retail store in New York City, which was announced on the same day as the Atlanta store filing. Workers United in New York City is still in the early stages of its unionization campaign and has not yet filed for union certification or demonstrated a majority of support from the workers. Additionally, on April 22, it was revealed that the Apple store organization had expanded far beyond the two union campaigns in Atlanta and New York City, and had taken root in a number of locations across the country.

As the unionization movement in the tech industry has grown in recent years, Apple’s move to organize its workers comes at a significant moment. Organizing tech, game, and digital workers is a goal of the Communication Workers of America’s CODE-CWA campaign. Two years ago, CODE-CWA started up the Alphabet Workers Union, which recently won their first bargaining unit, certified the first US union of video game workers, and won the largest union election in the New York Times of more than 600 tech workers, signaling a major shift in the fight to unionize technology.

While Apple employees intensify their union organizing efforts, other sectors of the labor movement are also seeing significant gains. Workers in New York City have won the right to form the first union at an Amazon warehouse in the United States, and a wave of worker organizing is sweeping through Starbucks. This example shows that big national corporations can be unionized with enough perseverance, strategy, and patience. For example, workers have become increasingly aware of the economic system that relies on their exploitation in the years since the pandemic struck; union approval is at its highest level since 1965; and the so-called “worker shortage” provides workers with greater leverage to take action.

Apple is expected to generate $368.8 billion in sales over the course of 2021, thanks in large part to the knowledgeable retail store staff who sell their products while also struggling to cover their basic costs. Even though technology has the potential to be liberating, to free workers from unnecessary labor and to make our lives more connected and communicative, it is often reduced to little more than a commodity to be bought and sold for profit at the expense of an exploited workforce under the sway of the capitalist market. A sign of growing worker power in the technology sector is the unionization of employees at tech giants such as Apple and Google. This development is beneficial to the entire working class.

Also read: The Cucumber Man in Alberta has been selected for a technology trial from CO2 GRO

Technology has been James's passion for over a decade. After graduating from the University of Chester with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 2006, started writing full-time shortly after. Over the years, he has worked on everything from Windows XP to Red Star OS, but more recently has settled into the Apple ecosystem. A regular contributor at, James writes about iOS, macOS, and Apple hardware.


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