Apple Store Workers in Maryland Become Company's 1st in US to Unionize

Apple Store Workers in Maryland Become Company's 1st in US to Unionize
A man checks his phone in an Apple retail store in Grand Central Terminal, in New York City, on Jan. 29, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

Workers at an Apple store in a Baltimore suburb have voted to join a union, making theirs the first of the company's more than 270 U.S. stores to unionize.

More than 100 workers in Towson, Maryland, "have overwhelmingly voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers," or IAM, the union said in a statement.

An initial tally of the vote by Towson employees was 65–33. Voting had begun on June 15 and concluded on June 18.

The employees will be part of a trade union that represents more than 600,000 active and retired members in North America, in aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, health care, automotive, and other industries.

"We did it Towson! We won our union vote! Thanks to all who worked so hard and all who supported!" organizers said in a Twitter post late on June 18. "Now we celebrate with @machinistsunion. Tomorrow we keep organizing."

“I applaud the courage displayed by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in a statement. “They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election.

"I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and fast-track a first contract for the dedicated IAM CORE Apple employees in Towson," he added. "This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and different industries across our nation."

The National Labor Relations Board needs to certify the votes.

The newly formed union is called the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCORE.

In an open letter to Cook in May, the employees explained their unionizing efforts.

"This is something we do not [do] to go against or create conflict with our management. Rather, we have come together as a union because of a deep love of our role as workers within the company and out of care for the company itself," the Towson organizers said.

"To be clear, the decision to form a union is about us as workers gaining access to rights that we do not currently have."

They also asked Cook to not engage in an anti-union campaign to dissuade employees and to "voluntarily recognize" the union so that all parties can "begin working together as equals in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration."

Apple, in a statement to CNN Business on June 15, said that it is "pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits."

"We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple," the statement said.

Last month, Apple announced that it would raise its starting wage to $22 per hour from $20.

Apple workers at a store in Atlanta had been seeking to unionize before they withdrew their request last month.

Other Apple stores, including in Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, have also been in the process of organizing a union vote, NBC News reported.

Unionization efforts have been gaining momentum at some large U.S. corporations, including Amazon and Starbucks.

Related Topics