After Amazon and Starbucks, it’s Apple’s turn to accept the creation of a union in one of its branches in the United States. A first for the tech giant, which has so far tried to discourage unionization attempts. Of the 110 employees of the Apple Store in Towson, Maryland, 65 voted in favor and 33 against, according to the count broadcast live Saturday, June 18 by the federal agency responsible for supervising the ballot.
A group of employees called AppleCORE (Coalition of Apple Retail Employees) campaigned for unionization. They demand a voice in deciding salaries, hours and safety measures. Saturday’s result means workers at the store, who had been called to vote since Wednesday, should form their branch of the IAM union, once the agency certifies the results.
Apple’s director of distribution and human resources, Deirdre O’Brien, had visited the store in May to address employees. “It’s your right to join a union, but it’s also your right not to join a union”she had told them, according to an audio extract broadcast by the site Vice. She had assured that the presence of an intermediary would complicate the relationship between Apple and its employees. The Californian group, contacted by Agence France Presse, refused to comment on the news.
A booming trade unionism
It wasn’t the first Apple Store to try to unionize, but it was the first attempt that resulted in a vote. On the decline for several decades, the unions have won several symbolic victories in the United States in recent months, starting with the explicit support of Joe Biden.
The creation of the first union in a Starbucks coffee directly managed by the chain in the United States in December aroused enthusiasm while employees, often young and educated, mobilized in NGOs, universities, museums, media.
At Amazon, the employees of a New York warehouse created a surprise in early April by voting by majority in favor of the creation of a union, a first for the group in the United States. But the company asked for the cancellation of this result and the organization of a second ballot.