Apple store employees in Maryland approve union

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Three Apple stores, including this one in Grand Central Station, New York, have launched campaigns to form a union.

Employees of an Apple store in Maryland, United States, voted to form the first union of workers of the giant technology company in that country.

Employees at Apple’s Towson branch approved the measure 65 to 22, with about a dozen abstentions.

After learning the results, the group wrote on Twitter: “Now we celebrate… tomorrow we will continue organizing.”

Is about the third Apple store to launch a unionization attempt this yearbut is the first to successfully complete a vote.

The new union called Apple Core (an acronym for Organized Coalition of Retail Employees) wrote an open letter to Apple in May, explaining that their initiative was “about access to our rights that as workers we currently don’t have,” but indicated that they did not want to “go against or create a conflict with management”.

Other stores in Atlanta and New York have also taken initiatives to form unions. Atlanta staff, however, postponed the planned vote, and the communication workers’ union involved in the move – Communications Workers of America – accused the company of anti-union activities.

Unions in the US are not as common as in other countries, but they are still protected by law. To form a union, the company must voluntarily agree to it or the workers must collect the signatures of at least 30% of the employees before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) can call an election.

According to US media, Apple has hired a law firm expert in union issues and compiled a series of “talking points” for their management teams to talk out employees to join a union.

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In April, Motherboard (an information technology platform) posted an audio recording of VP of Sales Deirdre O’Brien telling employees that while she recognized the right to join a union, “it’s equally your right not to join a union.” labor union”.

Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's vice president of sales, celebrates the reopening of a store in New York, September 20, 2019

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Apple’s vice president of sales, Deirdre O’Brien, was heard suggesting to employees that forming a union would not be a good idea.

“I am concerned about what it would mean to interpose another organization in the middle of our relationship, an organization that does not have a deep understanding of Apple or our business,” he is heard saying on the recording.

Employees at the Towson store had the backing of a long-standing union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Its president, Robert Martinez Jr., congratulated Apple employees in what he called a “historic victory”.

“They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had their eyes on this election,” he said.

“This victory demonstrates the growing demand for unions at Apple Stores and across industries across our nation.”

Apple told the AFP news agency that it would not be commenting on the vote, which has yet to be certified by the NLRB.

The store workers union in Townson is the latest in a series of high-profile union campaigns in the US.

In December, a successful campaign in New York enabled Starbucks employees to form the coffee chain’s first union in decades, prompting similar initiatives in many of the company’s individual stores.

And in April, Amazon saw 55% of its workers at a New York warehouse vote to unionize — though Amazon is disputing the result and calling for another vote.

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