Apple store employees in a Baltimore suburb voted to unionize by a 2-to-1 margin Saturday, a union said, joining a growing push across retail, service, and tech industries to organize for workplace protections.
Apple retail workers in Towson, Maryland, voted 65-33 to join IAM, the union said. National Labor Relations Board must certify the vote result.
An NLRB spokesperson referred initial questions about the vote to the board’s Late-Saturday regional office.
Apple spokesperson Josh Lipton declined to comment on Saturday’s event.
After decades of decline, U.S. union membership is on the rise. Amazon, Starbucks, REI, and Google’s parent company Alphabet have unions.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and Apple employees seeking a union said they notified CEO Tim Cook last month. Their statement said they wanted “rights we don’t have.” It added that the workers had recently formed CORE.
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said in the statement, “I salute the fortitude demonstrated by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for obtaining this historic win. “They made a tremendous sacrifice for the thousands of Apple workers across the country who were watching this election closely,”
Martinez called on Apple to recognize the election results and permit unionizing employees fast-track contract negotiations in Towson.
What next after the Towson vote is uncertain. Labor experts say employers often drag out bargaining to weaken union initiatives.
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IAM represents 600,000 currents and retired members in aerospace, defense, airlines, railways, transportation, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.
Apple’s unionization comes amid other labor organizing nationally, some of it resisted.
Amazon workers in New York City chose to unionize in April, the company’s first successful U.S. organizing attempt. Staten Island Amazon workers rejected a union last month. Starbucks workers at dozens of U.S. outlets have decided to unionize in recent months, after two Buffalo stores did so last year.
Teens and 20-somethings have led several unionization initiatives. Alphabet Workers Union is managed by five people under 35 and represents 800 Google employees.