Apple to boost pay for US workers as inflation bites

Apple will hike starting pay for its hourly staff to US$22 (S$30) or more, up 45 per cent from 2018. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (BLOOMBERG) - Apple is raising salaries for its workers in the United States by 10 per cent or more as it faces a tight labour market and the spread of unionisation 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 (S$30), up 10 per cent from last year. The move follows a pay bump in February after inflation woes and complaints from some employees 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 e-mail to employees.

The company is contending with unionisation efforts in several parts of the US, including Georgia, Maryland, New York and Kentucky. 

In a recent video message to employees, Apple retail chief Deirdre O'Brien said: “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 unionisation campaigns, and by doing so may interfere with employees’ free choice, Seattle University labour law professor Charlotte Garden said in an e-mail. “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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