Workers at the Apple Store in Maryland’s Towson Town Center have voted to unionize, forming the first U.S. union of Apple workers after Saturday’s vote. By 65 votes to 33 against, they joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Employee organizers, calling themselves CORE Apple (for Coalition of Organized Retail Employees), said they were looking for more rights in pay, time setting, fairness and safety. Robert Martinez Jr., president of the Parents’ Association, called on Apple CEO Tim Cook to “respect the election results and accelerate a first contract for the devotee [International Association of Machinists] KERN Apple employees in Towson.†
In a letter to the company last month, employees stated they were not trying to “create conflict with management“but tried to unite”because of a deep love for our role as employees within the company and outside of caring for the company itself†
Workers have cited safety concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic and financial issues such as compensation not keeping up with inflation as reasons they support unionization beyond the typical union advantage of bargaining from a position of collective strength.
Like fellow tech giants Amazon and Tesla, Apple has been hostile to union efforts in its ranks and has hired anti-union lawyers in an effort to quash such initiatives. The company has reportedly circulated anti-union talks to executives, reminding them that Apple offers strong compensation and benefits, including a base wage of $20 an hour, and “flexibility“Management insists it will be lost if workers unite.
Store and business executives have also been convened to lecture workers about the evils of unions at meetings employees were required to attend, a controversial but legal tactic known as “trapped public rallies.”
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Apple foiled a similar attempt to unite at an Atlanta store in May, where organizers claimed the company’s behavior made it impossible to hold fair elections. Workers elsewhere, including at the company’s World Trade Center store in New York City, have complained that, in addition to holding public rallies, management had engaged in illegal conduct, such as questioning employees and prohibiting putting up pro-union flyers.
Further unionization efforts are underway at the Apple store in New York City’s Grand Central Station and an Apple store in Louisville, Kentucky.