Apple Store workers in Towson, Maryland have now become the first ones to form a recognized union of the company. Out of 110 eligible employees, the union received 65 yes votes and 33 no votes. This historic triumph comes after concentrated efforts from Apple to deter its retail workers from forming a recognized union. Last month, the trillion-dollar company’s vice president of people and retail Deirdre O’Brien sent a video to 58,000 retail staff warning them about the perceived drawbacks of unionizing.
Apple is Using Illegal Tactics to Prevent the Formation of a Recognized Union
Furthermore, O’Brien reiterated anti-union talking points, saying that it would be more challenging to enact change in stores with a union standing between Apple and employees. A store in Atlanta was supposed to be the first to hold a union election, but the organizers canceled their request, claiming that Apple was leveraging outlawed union-busting tactics, such as holding “captive audience” meetings.
Now, the Apple Store in Maryland will form a recognized union through the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and are calling themselves the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE). When they first announced their intent to form a recognized union, they wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“We have come together as a union because of a deep love of our role as workers within the company and out of care for the company itself,” the letter said. “To be clear, the decision to form a union is about us as workers gaining access to rights that we do not currently have.” As the first Apple Store to unionize in the country, these Towson workers may spark a movement for other retail locations to follow their lead.
Apple is Working with Littler Mendelson to Suppress the Push for Retail Unions
To suppress the growing push for retail unions, Apple is working with Littler Mendelson, the same law firm supporting Starbucks’ anti-union push. In December, a Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York became the first of the company’s coffee shops to form a recognized union. Now, about seven months later, 158 stores in 30 states have unionized.