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Apple raises wages for U.S. employees amid a tough job market and a surge in unionism to take effect from July

Apple has raised pay for its hourly employees in the US, the iPhone maker said Wednesday as companies face labor market difficulties, a surge in unionization efforts and rising inflation.

Starting wages for hourly workers in the United States will rise to $22 (roughly Rs. 1,700) or higher depending on the market, up 45 percent from 2018, Apple said in a statement to Reuters.

“This year, as part of our annual performance review process, we are increasing our overall compensation budget,” a company spokesperson said.

Apple has told some workers that their annual checks will be moved forward by three months, with the new payroll going into effect in early July, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the compensation changes.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is known for its low-key culture, but last year some current and former employees began criticizing the company’s online experience.

In April, employees at Apple’s Atlanta store filed a union election petition, aiming to become the company’s first U.S. store to unite unions amid a wave of labor activism at other large firms.

In early May, a group of employees at an Apple store in Maryland launched a campaign to form a union, according to The Washington Post.

According to the report, organizers at a Towson Mall store near Baltimore said they have signatures from more than 65 percent of employees who are likely eligible.

The union intends to file paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board in the coming days, the Washington Post reports.

Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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