Monday, March 27, 2023

Apple workers vote to unite at Maryland store

TOWSON, Md. ( Associated Press) – Employees of Apple stores in a suburb of Baltimore voted Saturday to unite with an almost 2-to-1 margin, a union said, citing growing pressure in U.S. retail , joins service and technology industries to organize for greater workplace protections.

Apple retailers in Towson, Maryland, voted 65-33 to seek access to the International Association of Machinists and Aviation Workers, the union said in a statement. The vote could not be immediately confirmed with the National Labor Relations Board, which would have to certify the outcome. An NLRB spokesperson referred initial inquiries about the vote to the board’s regional office, which was closed late Saturday.

Apple declined to comment on Saturday’s development, company spokesman Josh Lipton told The Associated Press by telephone.

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Union organization in a variety of fields has recently gained momentum after decades of declining U.S. union membership. Organizers have worked to form unions at companies including Amazon, Starbucks, Google parent company Alphabet and outdoor retailer REI.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Apple employees who wanted to join said they had sent Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, notice last month that they wanted to form a union. The statement said their motivation was to look for “rights we do not currently have.” It added that the workers had recently organized into the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or CORE.

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

Martinez called on Apple to respect the election results and to allow the union workers to expedite efforts to secure a contract at the Towson location.

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It remained unclear what steps the vote in Towson would take. Labor experts say it is common for employers to drag out the bargaining process in an effort to extract momentum from union campaigns.

The IAM counts itself as one of the largest and most diverse industrial unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aviation, defense, airline, rail, transit, healthcare, automotive and other industries.

The trade union of Apple stores comes against the backdrop of other labor organizations nationwide – some of them have been rejected.

Amazon workers at a warehouse in New York City voted in April to join a union, the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant’s history. However, workers at another Amazon warehouse on Staten Island overwhelmingly rejected a union bid last month. Meanwhile, Starbucks workers at dozens of U.S. stores have voted to join unions in recent months, after two of the coffee chain’s stores in Buffalo, New York, voted to join unions late last year.

Many union efforts were led by young workers in their 20s and even in their teens. A group of Google engineers and other workers formed the Alphabet Workers Union last year, which represents about 800 Google employees and is run by five people under 35.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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