Apple Store employees at the company’s Towson Town Center location in Maryland have voted to unionize. According to the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, the group that led the unionization effort, workers voted “overwhelming” in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). With the historic vote, the store is now on track to become the first unionized Apple retail location in the US.
Towson Town Center became the first Apple Store in the US to hold a union election after workers at another retail location in Atlanta withdrew their petition to hold a union vote last month. While Apple hasn’t explicitly come out against its frontline workers organizing, the company has been broadly accused of employing union-busting tactics. It reportedly hired the same anti-union law firm employed by Starbucks and subjected workers to so-called “captive audience meetings.” In Georgia, organizers called off a union vote at the company’s Cumberland Mall location over intimidation claims. Ahead of today’s vote, AppleCore said it was organizing out of a “deep love of our role as workers within the company and out of care for the company itself.”
Apple declined to comment.
“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 following the vote. “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. This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and different industries across our nation.”
In the immediate future, today’s vote is likely to bolster ongoing unionization efforts at two Apple Stores in New York and Kentucky, but if recent history shows anything, it’s that a domino effect isn’t guaranteed. After the Amazon Labor Union led workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island to a historic labor win in April, the group failed to achieve the same result one month later a facility across the street.
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