Apple’s Maryland store is making history by forming the company’s first recognized alliance, TechCrunch

As several Apple stores across the country fight for unionization, workers in Towson, Maryland, have become the first to win official recognition. Out of 110 eligible employees, the union received 65 votes in favor and 33 against.

This historic victory comes after a concerted effort by Apple to discourage its retail workers from uniting. Last month, Deirdre O’Brien, the company’s trillion-dollar vice president of human and retail send video to 58,000 retail employees warning them of perceived shortcomings of the union. O’Brien reiterated anti-union talks, saying it would be harder to make changes to stores with a union between Apple and employees – but workers do not think meaningful change is possible without an officially recognized bargaining chip.

There had to be a store in Atlanta will be the first to hold trade union electionsbut the organizers withdrew their request, claiming that Apple had used illegal tactics to disrupt unions, such as holding meetings with “captive audiences”. At the time they applied for the election, the Cumberland Mall in Atlanta had 70% of the approximately 100 employees who signed union credentials, demonstrating their interest in moving forward. Since then, Apple has raised retail payments to a at least $ 22 per hourfrom $ 20.

The Maryland store will now become a union through the International Association of Drivers and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and is called the Coalition of Organized Retail Workers (CORE). When they first announced their intention to unite, they wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“We came together as a union because of our deep love for our role as employees in the company and out of concern for the company itself.” letter said. “To be clear, the decision to form a union is about us as workers who have access to rights we don’t currently have.”

As Apple’s first union to unite in the country, these Towson workers could spark movement for other stores to follow suit. According to New York Timesmore than two dozen Apple stores have shown interest in organizing, including Grand Central Terminal store in New York.

To quell the growing push for retail unions, Apple is working with Littler Mendelson, the same law firm supports Starbucks’ pressure on unions. But Starbucks workers managed to win a wave of union elections nonetheless. In December, the Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York, became the first of the company’s cafes to come together. Now, about seven months later, 158 stores in 30 states have merged.

TechCrunch contacted an Apple spokesman for comment, but did not receive a response before the release.

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