Store employees vote to establish first US Apple union

Workers at an Apple store in the US state of Maryland have voted to form a union, a first for the tech giant

Workers at an Apple store in the US state of Maryland have voted to form a union, a first for the tech giant.

A majority of workers at an Apple store in the US have voted to form the tech giant’s first union, in the wake of similar union actions at Starbucks and Amazon locations.

Of the 110 employees at the store in Towson, Maryland, 65 voted in favor and 33 against, according to a live count broadcast Saturday by the federal agency that oversees the sale. to vote

The vote comes after a group of workers called AppleCORE (Coalition of Organized Retail Employees) campaigned for unionization and demanded a say in making decisions about wages, working hours and safety measures.

“We’ve done it Towson! We’ve won our…! union to vote! Thanks to everyone who worked so hard and to everyone who helped out! Now we’re celebrating… Tomorrow we’ll keep organizing,” AppleCORE tweeted.

Saturday’s results mean that the store’s workers, who have been voting since Wednesday, will have to form their own branch of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union once the agency has certified the results.

The outcome of Saturday’s vote follows several symbolic victories — including among workers for giants such as Amazon and Starbucks — by the country’s decades-long decline unions, which President Joe Biden has backed.

It wasn’t the first time Apple store employees had tried to unionize, but it was the first attempt to result in a vote.

Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s director of distribution and human resources, visited the store in May to address employees.

“I want to start by saying that it is your right to join a union, but it is also your right not to join a union,” O’Brien said, according to the audio published by Vice.

“As you face that decision, I encourage you to consult a wide variety of people and resources to understand what it might be like to work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement.”

The presence of an intermediary would complicate the relationship between Apple and its employees, she said.

“I’m concerned about what it would mean to put another organization at the center of our relationship, one that doesn’t have a deep understanding of Apple or our company,” O’Brien said.

“And most importantly, one that I don’t think shares our commitment to you.”

‘Courage’

The vote comes in the wake of a wider push for unionization at some of the largest companies in the United States.

After two Starbucks coffee shops were unionized in the northern city of Buffalo in December, employees at more than 160 of the chain’s branches filed for a similar vote.

At Amazon, employees at a New York warehouse surprised everyone in early April by voting by an overwhelming majority to form a union, a first for the online retail giant in the United States.

But the company has asked for the vote to be canceled and a second vote to be held.

Apple declined to comment on the news when reached by AFP.

The IAM union denounced the Silicon Valley giant’s efforts to discourage workers from voting yes.

A video from the group, released by pro-union media outlet More Perfect Union, shows AppleCORE supporters in Maryland accusing the company of “union-breaking” tactics, including “harassment,” which the employees called “disgusting.”

IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said he applauds the workers’ “courage”.

“They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all eyes on this election,” he said in a statement. “I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and accelerate a first contract for the dedicated IAM CORE Apple Staff members in Towson.”

“This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and various industries in our country.”


Workers at Apple Store in New York launch union campaign


© 2022 AFP

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