A group of Apple Retail employees have voted to unionize, marking the consumer tech giant’s first union in the United States, as a burgeoning labor movement gains momentum across the country.

Employees at the store in Towson, a Maryland town outside the city of Baltimore, voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) by a vote of 65 to 33, according to the Associated Press.

Towson is one of many Apple stores where labor campaigns are taking place and the first to hold a vote. Voting began on Wednesday and ended on Saturday.

The results still need to be ratified by the National Labor Relations Board, which did not return a request for comment on Saturday. Apple did not return a request for comment.

The group’s victory follows successful labor campaigns at other US giants, including Amazon, Starbucks and Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Although on a small scale, the wave of unionization has gained momentum in companies that had until recently successfully pushed back against organized labor, with union-busting techniques and a partial dependence on a labor market less competitive than that that exists in today’s post-pandemic economy.

The store’s group of Apple employees – known collectively as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE) – wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook in May, telling the company about his campaign. “The decision to form a union concerns us, as workers, accessing rights that we do not currently have,” the letter states.

On Saturday, videos of Towson posted to social media showed jubilant employees punching the air as they left court.

“We did it Towson! We won our union vote! wrote CORE on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone who worked so hard and everyone who supported! Now we celebrate with @machinistsunion. Tomorrow, we continue to organize ourselves.

IAM President Robert Martinez Jr called on Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook to immediately recognize the union and begin contract negotiations.

“I applaud the courage shown by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson to achieve this historic victory,” Martinez said in a statement.

“They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all their eyes on this election. I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and to accelerate a first contract for dedicated IAM CORE Apple employees in Towson.

He added: “This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and in different industries across our country.”

The company has seen organizing drives in other countries, including at an Apple store in Glasgow, where some workers this month chose to join the GMB union.

Towson’s victory could reignite union organizing at Apple’s 272 stores across the United States, with workers at the iPhone maker adopting the same vigor as Starbucks baristas. Staff at more than 100 Starbuck stores have voted to unionize in the past six months, following the first successful vote in Buffalo, New York.

On Friday, Starbucks announced that Rossann Williams, head of North America and leader of efforts to contain unionization, is leaving the company.

News of his departure came just a week after Amazon announced that global consumer chief Dave Clark was also stepping down. Clark had overseen Amazon’s logistics operations and was its most senior executive in charge of labor matters.

In April, workers at a Staten Island factory became the first in Amazon history to vote to join a union. Amazon is challenging that result with labor officials, alleging unfair interference by Amazon Labor Union leaders.


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