Will $22 starting pay squelch unionization efforts at Apple?
Apple said last week that it will increase starting wages for its U.S. retail to $22 per hour, up from $20 and representing a 45 percent hike from 2018 levels.
Management will also raise wages for corporate staff amid a historically tight labor market and employee concerns about the cost of living impact of inflation. Google, Amazon.com and Microsoft also adjusted compensation structures in recent weeks. In some markets, Apple’s retail starting pay will be above $22.
The new pay will take effect in early July, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Supporting and retaining the best team members in the world enables us to deliver the best, most innovative, products and services for our customers,” Apple said in a statement.
Scores of retailers have raised pay and enhanced benefits over the last two years in the competitive job market. The pay increases also reflect hikes in the minimum wages and tensions faced by associates working on selling floors during the pandemic.
Costco, often lauded for its generous pay, last year raised its hourly minimum wage to $16 from $15 and indicated that its average hourly rate is $24.
Apple’s move to raise pay arrives as workers at company stores in New York, Maryland, Atlanta and Louisville have announced their intent to unionize.
Apple has been accused of illegal union-busting tactics. In an internal video leaked to The Verge, Apple VP of people and retail Deirdre O’Brien said, “I worry about what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship. An organization that does not have a deep understanding of Apple or our business. And most importantly one that I do not believe shares our commitment to you.”
Starbucks is also facing a union campaign.
The chain recently announced plans to increase wages on top of increases due in August although the new pay hikes won’t automatically apply to unionized stores. During a quarterly call on May 3, interim CEO Howard Schultz said federal law “prohibits us from promising new wages and benefits at stores involved in union organizing.” Mr. Schultz did not disclose, however, that Starbucks is not legally prevented from asking the union if its members would accept the change in benefits.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly earnings for all workers in April rose to $31.85 an hour, up from $30.20 a year ago.
- Apple Boosting Pay Budget for Workers Amid Tight Labor Market – The Wall Street Journal
- Apple says it will raise pay for corporate and retail employees in tight labor market – CNBC
- Apple to increase starting pay for U.S. workers – Reuters
- As Supply Chain Woes and Worker Burnout Rages in Retail, New Study from Zipline Finds 40% of Associates Report Worsening Mental Health – Zipline
- Apple VP discourages retail workers from joining a union in leaked video – The Verge
- Starbucks will raise wages again — but not for unionized workers – CNN
- Starbucks (SBUX) Q2 2022 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Americans are now making an average of nearly $32 an hour — but retail workers saw their wages go down last month – Business Insider
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Apple’s move to raise retail starting pay likely more about the hot job market or fighting unionization? Is higher pay the most effective tactic to dissuade unionization?