Workers explain why they are unionizing in an open letter.The Apple Store in Atlanta's Cumberland Mall has filed for a union election, making it the first of the company's 272 retail outlets to do so. Employees have drafted an open letter outlining the reforms they want to see, including increased COVID-19 safety measures in stores, fair compensation and openness on alleged pay discrepancy inside the company, and a pledge to advance more BIPOC employees into senior positions. Elli Daniels, a shop employee and union organizer, says, "We want to have a voice in our job." "We're doing this because we like Apple and our jobs, and we want to ensure that we can keep loving the firm as much as we do now." This isn't something we're doing because we want to abandon the company." A handful of Cumberland retail employees say they plan to walk into the company breakroom on Friday and post the vision statement for all to see. Workers note in the letter that they work for Apple "because Apple's public ideals correspond with our own." "We are here to live up to them, and we want Apple to do the same," they continue. The inference is that corporate ideals aren't always reflected on the front lines. Workers reported that, while Apple led the retail sector in introducing COVID-19 safety measures during the pandemic, management at particular retail outlets urged employees to come to work while they were suffering symptoms. "Because of everything we went through with COVID, we had such a large following when we first started organizing," Daniels adds. "The store opening, the store closing, the need to work from home, and not having a role in how it appeared." You never knew what you'd walk into or whether or not customers were wearing masks. People associated strongly with the need for a voice at work." The allegation is representative of a larger feeling among Apple's hourly employees. While retail employees are in charge of bringing Apple's consumer experience to life, they frequently feel overlooked by Apple executives. Retail staff feel as if they are being left out of Apple's success as the firm continues to achieve record-breaking earnings. Retail employees start at $20 an hour with the possibility of annual raises ranging from 1% to 4%. (Apple increased it to 10% for certain employees this year.) Employees are becoming increasingly concerned that their raises do not keep pace with inflation or the rising cost of living in their area. The filing of a union election by Apple retail employees in Atlanta sparked a flurry of organizing action at Apple locations across the country. According to Vice, the Cumberland Mall Apple Store is one of at least six outlets now attempting to unionize. Apple hasn't responded publicly, but company is collaborating with Littler Mendelson, a well-known anti-union law firm, to reply to Atlanta activists. "We are lucky to have excellent retail team members, and we deeply respect everything they bring to Apple," stated spokesperson Josh Lipton in a statement. We are glad to provide excellent salary and benefits to both full-time and part-time employees, including health insurance, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants, and a variety of other advantages."