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Apple hires labor-busting lawyers to fight employees' efforts to unionize

Apple Cumberland Mall

Apple has hired anti-union lawyers at Littler Mendelson as Apple retail employees across the country begin the process of unionizing.

In mid-April, workers at Apple Cumberland Mall in Atlanta, Georgia, began working with Communications Workers of America in an attempt to file for a union election. The proposed union would include 107 workers, with over 70% of workers signing cards of support.

To stave off organization efforts, Apple has tapped talent from Littler Mendelson, a San Francisco-based law firm that handles labor and employment litigation.

Littler is the same firm currently fighting Starbucks' employees' unionization efforts. The company also helped Mcdonald's avoid responsibility in 2014 when a case alleged that the company retaliated against workers who participated in the Fight for $15 campaign.

"From the start I've thought unionization was a good thing," an anonymous Apple retail employee told the Verge. "Pay is so unequal at the stores — there are people who've been in roles for less time making more than people who've worked in those same roles for years. They position themselves as a company that's open to feedback but nobody acts on it. With a union backing the employees, they'll be more pressure on them to actually act on it."

Apple Cumberland Mall employees aren't the only ones asking for more, either. Apple Store employees across the United States have quietly pushed to organize, citing that wages have stagnated as the Cupertino tech giant continues to see record profits.

Apple employs more than 65,000 people in its retail workforce, including employees that sell, repair, and troubleshoot products and services. The Cupertino tech giant's retail footprint was responsible for 36% of the company's $366 billion in revenue in 2021.

Earlier in April, Apple workers attempting to organize a union at the company's Grand Central Terminal retail store in New York City asked to be paid at least $30 hour per hour, along with other benefits.