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A Maryland Apple store became the trillion-dollar tech company’s first outlet to unionize, in a blow to the woke company, which sees itself as progressive, but fought tooth and nail to keep employees from organizing.
Workers at the Towson store, just outside of Baltimore, voted 65-33 in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Experts believe the move could encourage more Apple workers to join Big labor.
“We did it Towson! We won our union vote! Thanks to all who worked so hard and all who supported!” Towson organizers tweeted.
— Alison Knezevich☀️ (@aliknez) June 19, 2022
The vote still must be certified by the National Labor Relations. Once that happens, Apple will be obliged to bargain with the union over working conditions, including wages.
The effort to organize workers at the store prompted fierce opposition from the Cupertino, California, company. Apple’s head of retail and HR, Deirdre O’Brien, visited the location in May, according to CNBC.com. She sought in a recorded message to discourage employees from joining unions, saying unions are not committed to the company’s employees.
Workers said they want want higher wages and more say over working conditions, including COVID safety measures.
“We are the Specialists, the Experts, the Geniuses, the Pros, the Creatives, and the Leads,” Towson organizers wrote in a letter sent last month to Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We strive to leave the world better than we found it and transform the lives of everyone we interact with, both our customers and team members. To help dreamers become doers.”
“To be clear, the decision to form a union is about us as workers gaining access to rights that we do not currently have,” the letter concluded.
The Towson store could be the canary in the coal mine for Apple. Two big New York stores have taken steps to unionize. An Atlanta store was scheduled to vote on joining Communication Workers of America earlier this month, but the union postponed the vote after claiming Apple intimidated its employees. Stores in Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, are also in the process of organizing, according to NBC News.
Other major U.S. companies that claim to be progressive and espouse woke politics as part of their marketing strategy, including Amazon and Starbucks, are also trying to fend off unionization efforts.