Apple employees at a store in the Baltimore area have voted to merge, making it the first of the company’s 270 stores in the United States to embrace the sweeping work of retail sweets through retailers, restaurants and technology companies.
The results, announced Saturday by the National Labor Relations Board, provide the basis for a growing movement among Apple retail employees who want a bigger voice on Covid-19 wages and policies. More than two dozen employees of Apple stores have expressed interest in uniting in recent months, union leaders say.
In that election, 65 employees at the Apple store in Towson, Md., Voted in favor of being represented by a trade union, known as the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, with 33 voting against it. It will be part of the International Aviation and Trade Union Association, an industrial workers’ union that represents more than 300,000 workers.
“I applaud the courage shown by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory,” Robert Martinez Jr., president of IAM International, said in a statement. “They were very dedicated to the thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all eyes on this election.
The result is a blow to Apple’s campaign to weaken trade union positions on the grounds that it pays more than most retailers and offers a range of benefits, including health care and stock subsidies. Last month, it increased the starting salaries of retail employees to $ 22 an hour, from $ 20, and released a video of Deirdre O’Brien, who runs Apple retail, warning employees that joining a party could hurt the company’s business.
Workers in Towson said in a video before the party vote that Apple’s anti-union campaign was “bad” and included management telling workers that trade unions barred Black workers from joining their ranks. A few weeks before the vote, Ms. O’Brien visited the store and thanked everyone for their efforts.
Shortly afterwards, employees said their managers began encouraging employees to present their concerns at meetings and help find a solution to their grievances. They also began to draw staff into one-on-one meetings where supervisors highlighted the cost of party payments, said Eric Brown, a Towson employee working on the party’s efforts.
Votes place a mark between Apple and the organizers. Earlier this month, workers at a store in Atlanta dropped out of scheduled elections when party support stalled after Apple’s move to raise wages and highlight benefits it offered. Workers’ union organizers in Atlanta have filed a formal lawsuit against the National Labor Relations Board, accusing Apple of urging workers to listen to anti-union messages during compulsory meetings. The board has not yet determined whether the payment is valid.
At Starbucks, one of the companies whose organizers have gained the most momentum, employees cast a ballot box in Buffalo to help encourage other stores to submit trade union options. Since the vote in December, more than 150 stores out of approximately 9,000 companies owned by companies in the United States have voted to unite, according to the NLRB.
“Workers gain enthusiasm and confidence if employees elsewhere win,” said William Gould, a professor of law at Stanford University and author of “For Work Building on: War, Depression and Illness.” “Many look forward to seeing: Can employees succeed? Will they unite together? If the answer is positive, it will encourage other employees to take action towards collective bargaining.
Apple employees also plan at the Grand Central Terminal store in New York and the store in Louisville, Ky. These stores build support before asking for elections to be held. Organizers in Atlanta have said they plan to revive their election in the future.