Maryland Apple workers become the first in the US to join a union

Apple Inc employees in the US city of Maryland voted to join a union, making the tech giant the first retail employees of the tech giant to join a union in the country.

More than 100 workers in Towson near Baltimore “voted overwhelmingly to join” the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the union said on its website on Saturday.

The local workers, who make up the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), “have the support of a solid majority of our colleagues,” they wrote in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“This is something we don’t argue with or create a conflict with our management,” they wrote, stressing that their motivation was to “seek rights that we don’t currently have.”

IAM welcomed CORE’s “historic victory” and urged Cook to let union workers accelerate their efforts to land a contract at the Towson site.

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

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

An Apple spokesperson, responding to the Reuters news agency’s request for comment, said by email that the company “had nothing to add at this time”.

Unionization efforts are gaining momentum at a number of major US companies, including Amazon.com Inc and Starbucks Corp.

Apple employees in Atlanta who wanted to join a union withdrew their request last month, alleging harassment.

Some current and former Apple employees began criticizing the company’s working conditions online last year, using the hashtag #AppleToo.