Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland, have voted to form a union, making them the first iGiant retail staff to do so in the United States.
Of 110 eligible voters, 65 employees voted in favor of unionization against 33 who voted against. The organizing committee, known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), has now filed for certification of the results with the US National Labor Relations Board. Members joining this first-ever US Apple Store union will be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).
“I applaud the courage shown by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson to achieve this historic victory,” IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr said in a statement on Saturday. “They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the country who had their eyes on this election.”
“I call on Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and expedite a first contract for the dedicated employees of IAM CORE Apple in Towson. This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and different industries across our country,” he added. .
The CORE team had previously written a letter to Cook advising him that workers at the Towson store wanted to form a collective bargaining unit and were asking for voluntary recognition. After Apple’s lack of response, the committee filed a petition with the labor board showing it had the support of at least 30% of employees to hold a formal union election. Now that he won the vote, the board will have to certify the results. Apple will then have to enter into negotiations with the union.
Organizing committee member Kevin Gallagher, who works at the Towson Apple Store, said The register on Monday, the committee is working to assemble a team for negotiations.
“We want a place at the table to help create a policy that best benefits us and our customers,” he said. “We also believe there is a pay disparity between corporate and retail employees, so we would like to close the $98 million gap between Tim Cook’s annual salary and ours.
“He currently earns 1,447 times the average employee, but that figure is even higher due to the competitive salaries paid to our engineering teams.”
The average worker in my store earns way below my state’s standard of living
“The average worker in my store earns well below my state’s standard of living,” Gallagher told us.
“With the cost of rent in Maryland, workers would have to make $57,000 a year to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment and pay only 1/3 of their income. Currently, no one outside of the management team won’t win anywhere near that.”
Gallagher said the committee has yet to receive a response acknowledging Cook’s union or anyone else at Apple. A spokesperson for the Silicon Valley giant declined to comment.
This successful organizing campaign encouraged other Apple retail workers to consider forming unions at their sites. Gallagher said people asked the committee for their playbook on the organization. Efforts are underway at other Apple Stores in the United States, including New York and Georgia. ®