Apple Store Workers Vote to Go on Strike in Maryland

Apple Store

Apple Store workers in Towson, Maryland, who were the first among the tech giant’s retail employees to unionize, achieved another milestone by voting late Saturday in favor of authorizing a strike.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (IAM CORE), the union representing the workers, emphasized in a news release that the vote “underscores the frustrations among workers regarding unresolved workplace issues.”

Employees at the store in Towson, situated in a Baltimore suburb, have been engaged in contract negotiations with Apple management since last year, addressing various concerns such as the store’s “unpredictable” scheduling practices and wages that don’t “align with the area’s cost of living.”

“This vote today is the first step in demonstrating our solidarity and sends a clear message to Apple,” said members of the union’s negotiating committee on Saturday.

“The passage of the strike sanction vote highlights IAM CORE’s unwavering commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of workers in the face of challenges.”

Apple Store

In response, Apple stated that it will “engage with the union representing our team in Towson respectfully and in good faith.”

“At Apple we work hard to provide an excellent experience for our retail team members and empower them to deliver exceptional service for our customers,” an Apple spokeswoman said. “We deeply value our team members, and we’re proud to provide them with industry-leading compensation and exceptional benefits.”

The union at the Towson store has not disclosed the date for a potential strike. Meanwhile, another unionization vote at a store failed over the weekend.

Apple employees at the Mall at Short Hills store in New Jersey voted against unionizing on Saturday. The union, known as the Communications Workers of America, accused Apple of engaging in illegal union-busting activity and attributed the defeat to Apple’s tactics.

“Instead of leaving the decision up to the workers themselves, the company turned to its usual anti-union playbook to influence the results of the election,” CWA said

Apple Store

Labor issues have been a focal point for Apple and its retail stores, adding to the company’s challenges, including regulatory scrutiny in Washington, sluggish sales in China, and a controversial iPad ad.

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board upheld a decision alleging union-busting tactics by Apple in New York City.

The labor unrest at Apple retail stores mirrors the organizing efforts seen at other influential companies in the United States, like Starbucks and Amazon.

As Apple ascended to become the world’s first $3 trillion company, the tight labor market resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted labor conditions and inequalities faced by workers in stores and warehouses.

“It speaks to a growing frustration among workers and also a contagion in labor activity, which is when one group of workers stands up and inspires others,” said Kate Bronfenbrenner, the director of Labor Education Research at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Mason Williams
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