Apple workers in Maryland voted for the first union store in the United States

An employee organized the Apple iPhone as a customer store in the Apple Store on 5th Avenue shortly after the new products went on sale in Manhattan, New York, March 18, 2022.

Mike Segar Reuters

Employees in an Apple store in Towson, Maryland, voted Saturday to join a union, a significant achievement for organized labor that could encourage employees at other Apple stores to unite. Towson is Apple’s first unified store in the United States

The vote is a defeat for Apple, which has opposed union efforts and could encourage workers at the company’s other outlets to move forward with the organization.

The election was 65 in favor and 33 against. Approximately 110 employees were eligible to vote to join the International Association of Drivers and Aerospace Workers. Voting began on Wednesday and lasted until Saturday night.

The National Labor Relations Council has yet to certify the votes. This may take about a week. Apple is required to bargain with the union for working conditions after certification of the vote, according to the NLRB.

Towson is not one of Apple’s so-called “flagship” stores in high-traffic areas of major cities. This is less space in the mall.

The store received attention from Apple’s management as soon as the workers announced plans for unionization. Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s head of retail and human resources, visited the site in May. or recorded message from O’Brien distributed to employees after the union’s initiatives went public, discouraged retail workers from joining unions, saying it would make it harder for Apple to respond to employees’ concerns. She said the unions were not involved with the company’s employees.

Workers are looking for more information on pay and working conditions, such as how stores handle Covid’s safety and other operations.

“To be clear, the decision to form a union is about us as workers who have access to rights we don’t currently have,” Towson organizers said. wrote in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The Towson store is one of several Apple locations that have publicly announced trade union initiatives, and other retailers elsewhere are keeping a close eye on its results. Two high-traffic and high-volume stores in New York, the Grand Central Terminal and the World Trade Center, have signaled that they are merging, but have not yet reached the official voting stage.

A store in Atlanta, Georgia, was due to hold elections earlier this month, which were postponed indefinitely after the union, Communication Workers of America, claimed that Apple intimidates its employees. Shops in Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee are also in the process of being organized, according to NBC News.

Apple’s trade union in the Towson store is unlikely to jeopardize Apple’s core business model for selling devices and services. Although Apple stores are a key channel for selling products, Apple also sells through its website and retail partners as carriers. Apple’s hourly workforce is smaller than other companies they currently face waves of allied aspirationslike Amazon and Starbucks.

Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world. It reports more than $ 365 billion in global sales in 2021 and says its U.S. retailers make at least $ 22 an hour.

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