Apple increase salaries for US workers as inflation bites

LOS ANGELES – Apple is raising salaries for in the US by 10% or more as it faces a tight labour market and the spread of unionization efforts across its retail stores.

The tech giant is expanding its overall compensation budget this year, it said in a statement on Wednesday (May 25). It will hike minimum hourly pay for its staff to at least US$22, up 10 per cent on last year. The move follows a pay bump in February after woes and complaints from some staffers about working conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

US tech companies are battling a shortage of talent after many chose flexible options or left the workforce during the pandemic. Software maker Microsoft is among those spending more aggressively to stay competitive, planning to nearly double its budget for salary increases this year in an effort to retain employees.

Apple is now accelerating its annual performance-based pay increases for retail and corporate team members by three months, according to an email to employees. The company is contending with unionization efforts in several parts of the US, including Georgia, Maryland, New York and Kentucky. In a recent video message to employees, Apple's retail chief warned “We have a relationship that is based on an open and collaborative and direct engagement,” and “I worry about what it would mean to put another organisation in the middle of our relationship.”

Companies often announce improvements while battling unionization campaigns, and by doing so may interfere with employees' free choice, Seattle University labour law professor Charlotte Garden said in an email. “The risk is that workers perceive that keeping the improvements is contingent on voting against union representation, and that if they vote for the union, the company will play hardball.”

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