Most employees at the US Apple Store have voted to form a union, a first for the tech giant, which has so far tried to discourage union efforts.
Of the 110 employees at Towson, Maryland, 65 voted in favor and 33 against, according to a live count broadcast Saturday by the federal agency that oversees the vote.
The vote comes after a group of employees called AppleCORE (Organized Retail Workers’ Coalition) campaigned for unionization.
AppleCORE tweeted, “We did it Towson! We won our union vote! Thank you to those who worked so hard and supported! Now we celebrate… Tomorrow we will keep organizing.”
They are seeking to have their say in deciding on wages, hours and safety measures.
Saturday’s results mean shop workers, who have been voting since Wednesday, must form their own branch of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union, after the agency certifies the results.
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said he appreciated the “courage” of the workers.
“He made a huge sacrifice for the thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all eyes on this election. I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to honor the election results and the first contract for dedicated IAM core Apple employees in Towson. Fast-track,” he said in a statement.
“This win reflects the growing demand for unions at Apple Stores across our country and in various industries.”
It wasn’t the first time employees at an Apple Store had tried to unionize, but it was the first attempt that resulted in a vote.
Apple’s director of distribution and human resources, Deirdre O’Brien, visited the store in May to address employees.
According to audio published by Vice, O’Brien said, “I want to start by saying that it is your right to join the union, but it is also your right not to join the union.”
“If you’re faced with that decision, I want to encourage you to consult a wide range of people and sources to understand what it takes to work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement.”
She said the presence of a middleman would complicate the relationship between Apple and its employees.
The Silicon Valley giant told AFP it “refuses to comment” on the news.
Unions on the decline for decades have won a number of symbolic victories in the United States in recent months, with President Joe Biden voicing their support.
Since a union formed in December at two Starbucks coffee shops in the northern city of Buffalo, employees at more than 160 locations across the chain have applied for equal votes.
At Amazon, workers at a New York warehouse surprised everyone by voting overwhelmingly to form a union in early April, a first for the online retail colossus in the United States.
But the company has demanded to cancel the result and conduct a second vote.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)