A group of Apple retailers voted in favor of the union, marking the first union for the consumer technology giant in the United States as the booming labor movement gains momentum across the country.
Employees at the store in Towson, a city in Maryland outside Baltimore, voted to join the International Association of Drivers and Aerospace Workers (IAM) with 65 votes to 33, according to the Associated Press.
Towson is one of several Apple stores where trade union action is taking place and the first to hold a vote. Voting began on Wednesday and ended on Saturday.
The results have yet to be ratified by the National Labor Council, which did not send a request for comment on Saturday. Apple did not return a request for comment.
The group’s victory follows successful union initiatives in other US corporate giants, including Amazon, Starbucks and Alphabet, a parent of Google.
Although small in scale, the wave of unionization has gained momentum in companies that until recently managed to repel organized labor, with techniques for breaking up unions and partial reliance on a less competitive labor market than exists in today’s post-pandemic economy.
The group of Apple employees in the store – collectively known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE) – wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook in May, briefing the company on his campaign. “The decision to form a union applies to us as workers who have access to rights we do not currently have,” the letter said.
On Saturday, videos from Towson posted on social media showed jubilant employees hitting the air as they left the court.
“We did it, Towson!” We won our union vote! ”Wrote CORE on Twitter. “Thanks to everyone who worked so hard and to everyone who supported! Now we celebrate with @machinistsunion. We will continue to organize tomorrow. “
IAM President Robert Martinez Jr. called on Apple CEO Tim Cook to immediately recognize the alliance and begin negotiations for a contract.
“I applaud the courage shown by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson to achieve this historic victory,” Martinez said in a statement.
“They have made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who have turned a blind eye to this election. We ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to honor the election results and expedite the first contract for Apple’s dedicated IAM CORE employees in Towson.
He added: “This victory shows the growing demand for unions in Apple stores and in various industries in our nation.”
The company has experienced union initiatives in other countries, including an Apple store in Glasgow, where some workers this month chose to join GMB Union.
Towson’s victory could boost unions in Apple’s 272 stores in the United States, with iPhone makers embracing the same vigor as Starbucks baristas. Employees of more than 100 Starbuck stores have voted in favor of unionization in the last six months, after the first successful vote in Buffalo, New York.
On Friday, Starbucks announced that Rosan Williams, North America’s leader and leader of efforts to curb unionization, was leaving the company.
The news of her departure came just a week after Amazon announced that Dave Clark, the world’s leading consumer, was also stepping down. Clark oversaw Amazon’s logistics operation and is the most famous chief executive dealing with labor issues.
In April, workers at a facility on Staten Island became the first in the history of Amazon to vote to join a union. Amazon is in the process of challenging this result with labor officials, claiming unfair interference by leaders of the Amazon Labor Union.