In brief: In the midst of unionization efforts and rising inflation pushing up the cost of living, Apple has announced it will increase pay for retail and corporate workers later this year. Starting wages for new store employees will go from the current $20 per hour to $22, though this will be higher in some regions.
CNBC writes that the move comes during a historically tight labor market in the US. Inflation hit 8.3% in April, the fastest rate in more than 40 years, as unemployment remains low at 3.6%. It's led to many workers, especially those in the tech industry, leaving their current positions to find work elsewhere that offers better pay or benefits. Illustrating this was Apple's former director of machine learning, who quit the firm earlier this month over its return to in-person work policy.
Apple has also faced a unionization push from at least six stores, reportedly due to wages failing to keep up with inflation. Outlets in Maryland, Georgia, and New York have announced plans this year to form unions, something Apple wants to avoid; there were reports of workers using Android phones to hide their unionization intentions from bosses.
According to the Wall Street Journal, some Apple workers will have their pay increased from July, though whether $22 per hour is enough remains to be seen. Unionization demands at Apple's store in New York City's Grand Central Terminal include a minimum of $30 per hour for all workers.
"Supporting and retaining the best team members in the world enables us to deliver the best, most innovative, products and services for our customers," an Apple representative said in a statement. "This year as part of our annual performance review process, we're increasing our overall compensation budget."
Apple is joining fellow tech giants Google, Microsoft, and Amazon in increasing employee pay as they try to hold onto their best workers.