Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, have voted to form a union. With about 120 employees at the store, the vote was a landslide, 65-33. This is the first time that Apple retail employees have unionized anywhere in the United States. The new union is called AppleCore (Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees) and is affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Union officials say that workers at more than two dozen out of 270 Apple stores in the U.S. have expressed interest in organizing.
The Towson workers began organizing before the IAM got involved, talking to each other about problems on the job, including Covid safety, low wages, control of work schedules, challenges in getting time off, and more. Once their organizing began, the company started its union-busting strategy, including bringing in management from other parts of the country to intimidate the workers through one-on-one meetings. Workers also report that Apple used divide-and-conquer tactics, including race, to try to defeat the workers. But the large majority of workers stood together.
Apple can certainly afford to do more for workers, whose work makes the profits for the company. Apple had record revenue of $97.3 billion for the quarter ending in March, up 9 percent from a year ago, and it passed on almost $27 billion of that in profits to shareholders.
Apple workers trying to unionize at a store in Atlanta officially stopped their efforts in May, saying that the company’s intimidation tactics were the problem. But we hope that the Towson workers’ election victory will encourage workers at all Apple stores — and that the Towson workers will stay strong as they move into bargaining with the company.