Apple workers vote pro-unionization in a first for the tech giant
Apple workers in Maryland voted for unionization with a ratio of 2-to-1 despite intimidation in Atlanta a month earlier.
Maryland Apple workers voted to join a union, becoming the first retail employees of the tech giant to unionize in the US. On Saturday, the vote was approximately at a 2-to-1 margin with the total vote count being 65-33 for unionization.
More than 100 workers across Towson, near Baltimore, decided to join, following a successful vote, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
The Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (Core), made up of the local Apple workers, had said in a statement that they “have the support of a solid majority of our coworkers.” They further added that “This is something we do not [do] to go against or create conflict with our management.”
In the statement, IAM international president Robert Martinez Jr. said: “I applaud the courage displayed by Core members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory. They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election.”
Martinez also called on Apple to respect the election results and not hinder the unionizing employees from fast-tracking efforts to secure a contract at the Towson location.
According to the Guardian, an Apple spokesperson has “nothing to say” when asked for a statement on the topic. This comes as large US corporations start seeing workers’ mobilization towards unionization.
IAM and Apple employees that have voted to join it have said that Apple chief Tim Cook had received a notice last month that the workers are looking to mobilize, stating their driving motivation as seeking “rights we do not currently have.”
IAM is one of the largest and most diverse trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 members, active and retired, from a variety of industries such as defense, aerospace, airlines, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.
It is worth noting that the National Labor Relations Board was unable to immediately confirm the vote; a necessary step to certify the outcome.
Previous unionization attempts at Apple
A Bloomberg report recently revealed that workers at the Cumberland Mall Apple store will no longer organize a union election that was scheduled to take place in June, due to violations from Apple.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) divulged that it withdrew the request to organize the election that was set to begin on June 2nd because “Apple’s repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act have made a free and fair election impossible.”
The vote would have been the first union election at a US Apple store.
In the same context, Apple has repeatedly been accused of union-busting, as it "hired anti-union lawyers and has circulated anti-union messages through store leaders and even video messages from executives," reported the Verge.
"The CWA also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that the company has held captive-audience meetings in Atlanta to push back against organizing," the tech website mentioned.
Read more: Apple shareholders call on company to undergo civil rights audit