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Apple staffs vote to join union, a first for the tech giant in US

by Rishika Choudhury

Read Time: 2 minute

A majority of employees at an Apple store in the United States have voted to form a union, a first for the tech giant, which has previously tried to discourage unionisation efforts.

According to a live count broadcast on June 18 by the federal agency overseeing the vote, 65 of the 110 employees at the Towson, Maryland shop voted in favour and 33 voted against.

Vote comes after campaigned for unionisation

The vote comes after a group of employees called Apple CORE (Coalition of Organized Retail Employees) campaigned for unionisation. They are demanding a say in deciding on wages, hours and safety measures.

The outcome of the vote on June 18 means that the shop's employees, who have been voting since june 15, will form their own branch of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union once the results are certified by the agency.

IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr applauded the workers' "courage."

"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," he said in a statement.

First time employees have tried to unionise

This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and different industries across our nation. It was not the first time employees at an Apple store have tried to unionise, but it was the first attempt that resulted in a vote.

Apple's director of distribution and human resources, Deirdre O'Brien, visited the shop in May to address employees.
"I want to start out by saying it's your right to join a union, but it's equally your right not to join a union," O'Brien said, according to audio published by Vice. "If you're faced with that decision, I want to encourage you to consult a wide range of people and sources to understand what it could be like to work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement."

She said that the presence of an intermediary would complicate relations between Apple and its employees. Unions, on the decline for decades, have won several symbolic victories in the United States in recent months, with President Joe Biden voicing his support.

Union was formed at two Starbucks coffee shops

After a union was formed at two Starbucks coffee shops in December in the northern city of Buffalo, employees at more than 160 of the chain's locations have filed for similar votes.

At Amazon, employees at a New York warehouse surprised everyone in early April by voting overwhelmingly to form a union, a first for the online retail colossus in the United States.
But the company has asked for the result to be cancelled and a second vote to be held.

Also Read: Apple going to make easier for retail employees to work for longer hours

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