Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Apple Store workers in Maryland become first to trade union

Workers at an Apple store outside Baltimore have formed the technology giant’s first retail union in the US, marking another high-profile victory for the labor movement this year.

Employees at the company’s Towson Center store voted 65 to 33 in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aviation Workers, according to a vote taken by the National Labor Relations Board on Saturday. Council officials have not yet certified the results to make it official.

The union’s success at Apple shows the wave of workers’ organizations that has hit Starbucks, Amazon and REI recently may continue to spread to other major employers. Many workers who felt abused during the pandemic are seeking union representation amid the extremely tight labor market, with the labor council seeing a marked increase in election petitions this year compared to 2021.

The president of the machinists’ union, Robert Martinez Jr., immediately called on Apple to start negotiating a contract and praised the Apple workers for what he called a “historic victory”.

“They have made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all eyes on this election,” he said.

The workers in Towson organized with the machinists’ union under the name Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCORE. They sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook last month, saying they “came together as a union because of a deep love for our role as workers within the company and out of concern for the company itself. . ”

They referred to other workers at “large companies in the service and technology sectors” who had chosen to unite and said they were proud to follow in those workers’ footsteps. More than 100 Starbucks stores have been merged since late last year, and the first Amazon union in the U.S. was formed in New York City in April.

“The union’s success at Apple shows the wave of workers’ organizations that has hit Starbucks, Amazon and REI recently may continue to spread to other major employers.”

Those companies strongly opposed their workers’ desire to form a union, and Apple seems to be taking a similar stance, probably worried that a successful union bid would spread quickly to other stores across the country as it did at Starbucks.

Store managers have workers encouraged not to join unions in meetings with staff, and the company hired the same union avoidance law firm as Starbucks, Littler Mendelson, to combat the effort. Meanwhile, a company manager released a video to tens of thousands of workers to discourage union formation, The Verge reported . “I’m worried about what it would mean to put another organization at the center of our relationship,” CEO Deirdre O’Brien said.

Other Apple retailers have also recently launched campaigns. The Communications Workers of America union filed a petition to hold an election for an Apple store in a mall in Atlanta, but withdrew it weeks later, something unions sometimes do when they believe they have the necessary support. lost.

CWA also organizes workers at Apple’s Grand Central store in New York, where workers want to keep their own voice.

Nation World News Desk
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