Union gets the right to represent employees in an Apple Store for the first time

The milestone union elections ended Saturday night with 65 workers voting for unionization and 33 against, a margin of nearly two to one in favor of the union, according to a preliminary tally by the National Labor Relations Board.
The victory for union organizers on the Apple AAPL store at the Towson Town Center, a shopping center near Baltimore, comes amid a wider wave of workplace activism that has sprung up in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The US job market has turned much more strongly in favor of workers in the past two years. There are now about twice as many vacancies because there are unemployed people looking for work, making employers rush to fill jobs. The number of employees being fired or fired recently hit a record low. And the number of employees stop working, mostly because they have found better opportunities, remains near recently reached all-time highs. This has resulted in workers who are dissatisfied with their jobs more willing to demand better working conditions, including through unionization.
Saturday’s vote marks a big win for store associates at Apple, which has seen a wave of employee activism within the ranks of the company in recent months — a movement that has become known as #AppleToo.

Problems beyond wages

The main reason for the organizational vote was that employees wanted a say in how the store is run, said Christie Pridgen, a technical expert at the store and one of the organizers. Pridgen, 34, said she has worked in the store for over 8 years.

A fee is important, given the cost of living in general and inflationbut the most important thing is to have a say,” she told CNN Business on Saturday night after the vote. “That was the most important thing for me.”

Pridgen said workers who have a say in hours and scheduling and are involved in establishing safety protocols during the pandemic were the big issues.

“We wanted to have a say in the policies that affect our lives,” she said, adding that she was not surprised by the vote’s outcome, but was relieved.

“I knew I wasn’t the only one frustrated,” she said. When asked if she was thinking about leaving Apple for another job, she said she felt like her colleagues were like family.

“I’m not ready to leave here because of the connection I have with teammates,” she said.

A Apple AAPL spokesman declined to comment on the vote.

“We are fortunate to have incredible members of the retail team and we really appreciate everything they bring to Apple,” the company said in a statement ahead of the vote. “We are excited to offer very strong benefits and benefits for full-time and part-time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock allowances, and many other benefits.”

The union that won the vote is called the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCORE for short. It was backed by the larger International Association of Machinists, known for its strong production workers at Boeing and many of the workers in the US aerospace industry.

“I applaud the courage shown by CORE members at the Apple Store in Towson for achieving this historic victory,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez. “They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all eyes on this election.”

Voting in the Apple Store will follow on an April union victory in an Amazon distribution center in Staten Island, New York, the first Amazon AMZN possibility to vote for a trade union. There are also a range of union victories in Starbucks stores nationwide since the end of last year.

Winning union votes remains difficult

Yet it is an uphill battle for unions to win organizing votes. Even with all successful votes on Starbucks SBUX stores, the union has been given the right to represent only about 5,000 of the 235,000 employees in Starbucks’ 9,000 U.S. stores. The Amazon distribution center on Staten Island had about 8,300 employees, while the company has more than 1 million American employees in total.
The victory at the Apple Store in Maryland came after union supporters at an Apple Store in Atlanta request to hold a vote. The union victory over the Amazon location on Staten Island becomes challenged by the company† And it followed a failed attempt by another union to represent an Amazon distribution center in Alabama. There is then a union loss at a nearby Amazon facility, also on Staten Island.
Management often pressures workers to vote against a union, arguing that it will be more difficult to address working conditions issues if there is a union, or that workers will be paid less and have to pay union dues if they vote. to organize. For example, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that a pay increase for most of the company’s US employees this does not apply to workers in shops who voted for a union, as a possible wage increase must now be negotiated.
Employees may also be concerned that a company close a location who votes for a union and keeps others open. Employees of a Starbucks store in Ithaca, New York, claim their location is to be closed because of a successful union action. The company denies that the union vote is the reason for the closure plans, but the union has filed a complaint about unfair labor practices.
American workers came to power during Covid.  A volatile economy will put that to the test

The benefits management gains from defeating union efforts has resulted in the percentage of U.S. workers who are union members falling to 10.3% in 2021, from 20.1% in 1983. Nearly half of union members are employed for a particular level of government. Overall, only 6.1% of private sector workers are unionized, including 4.4% of retail workers, mainly supermarkets.

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