TOWSON, Md. “Employees of the Apple store in the suburbs of Baltimore voted in favor of union with a nearly 2 to 1 difference on Saturday,” the union said, joining a growing boost in U.S. retail, services and technology to organize greater protection in the workplace.
Apple retailers in Towson, Maryland, voted 65 to 33 to join the International Association of Drivers and Aerospace Workers, the union said in a statement. The vote could not be confirmed immediately by the National Labor Relations Council, which must certify the result. An NLRB spokesman took the initial inquiries about the vote to the regional office of the board, which closed late Saturday.
Apple declined to comment on developments on Saturday, company spokesman Josh Lipton told the Associated Press by telephone.
Trade union organization in various fields has gained momentum recently after decades of declining membership in American unions. Organizers have worked to create unions in companies including Amazon, Starbucks, the parent company of Google Alphabet and retailer REI.
The International Association of Drivers and Aerospace Workers and Apple employees, who wanted to join, said they had sent a notice to Apple CEO Tim Cook last month that they were seeking to form an alliance. The statement said their driving motivation was to seek “rights we do not currently have”. He added that the workers had recently organized in the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees or CORE.
“I applaud the courage shown by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson to achieve this historic victory,” IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said in a statement. “They have made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who have turned a blind eye to this election.
Martinez called on Apple to respect the election results and allow union officials to step up their efforts to secure a contract on the spot in Towson.
It remains unclear what steps will follow in the Towson vote. Labor experts say it is common for employers to procrastinate in the bargaining process in an attempt to extract momentum from union campaigns.
IAM is one of the largest and most diverse industrial unions in North America, with approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, rail, transportation, healthcare, automotive and other industries.
The syndication of Apple stores comes amid other workers’ organizations across the country – some of which have been rejected.
Amazon workers in a New York warehouse voted in favor of unionization in April, the first successful U.S. effort in the history of the retail giant. However, workers at another Amazon warehouse on Staten Island rejected a union offer by a majority last month. Meanwhile, Starbucks workers in dozens of stores in the United States have voted for syndication in recent months, after two of the coffee chain’s stores in Buffalo, New York, voted for syndication late last year.
Many union efforts have been led by young workers in their 20s and even teenagers. A group of engineers and other Google employees formed the Alphabet Workers Union last year, which represents about 800 Google employees and is run by five people under the age of 35.
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Apple workers are voting for a union in the Maryland store
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