Union gets first right to represent workers at an Apple store – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – Apple workers in Towson, Maryland, have voted to form the first-ever union at one of the tech giant’s US stores.

That landmark union election ended Saturday night with 65 workers voting in favor of unionization and 33 voting against, a preliminary tally by the National Labor Relations Board that translates to a nearly two-to-one majority in favor of the union.

The union organizers’ victory at the Apple Store in Towson Town Center, a mall near Baltimore, comes amid a broader wave of workplace activism that has emerged in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US labor market has tilted significantly more in favor of workers over the past two years. There are now about twice as many Job offers Since there are unemployed people looking for work, employers have to make efforts to fill vacancies. The number of employees be fired or fired recently hit a record low. And the number of employees give up jobs, usually because they have found better opportunities, remains close to recent record highs. This has resulted in workers who are dissatisfied with their jobs being more willing to demand better working conditions, including through unionisation.

Saturday’s vote marks a major victory for retail workers at Apple, which has seen a surge of employee activism through its corporate ranks in recent months — a movement this has become known as #AppleToo.

Problems beyond wages

The main issue driving the organizing vote is workers who want a say in how the business is run, said Christie Pridgen, a technical expert on the business and one of the organizers. Pridgen, 34, said she has worked at the store for more than 8 years.

compensation is important when considering the cost of living in general and inflation, but the most important thing is to have a say,” she told CNN Business Saturday night after the vote. “That was the most important thing for me.”

Pridgen said the big problems are that workers have a say in working hours and scheduling, and are involved in creating safety protocols during the pandemic.

“We wanted to have a say in the policies that affect our lives,” she said, adding that she was not surprised by the outcome of the vote, but was relieved.

“I knew I wasn’t alone in my frustration,” she said. Whether she’s considering leaving Apple for another job, she said she feels like her co-workers are a family of sorts.

“I’m not ready to leave here because of the connection I have with teammates,” she said.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the vote.

“We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we really value everything they bring to Apple,” the company said in a statement ahead of the vote. “We are pleased to offer full-time and part-time employees very strong compensation and benefits, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits.”

The union that won the vote is called the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCORE for short. It was supported by the larger International Association of Machinists, known for the strength of the manufacturing workers at Boeing, as well as many workers in the US aerospace industry.

“I applaud the courage shown by CORE members at the Apple Store in Towson to achieve this historic victory,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez. “They made a huge sacrifice for the thousands of Apple employees across the country who had all eyes on this election.”

The Apple Store vote follows an April Union victory at an Amazon distribution center in Staten Island, New York, the first Amazon plant to vote for a union. There were also a number of Union victories at Starbucks stores nationwide since the end of last year.

It remains difficult to win union votes

Still, it is an uphill battle for unions to win organizing votes. Despite all the successful voting at Starbucks stores, the union has won the right to represent only about 5,000 of the 235,000 workers at the 9,000 company-owned Starbucks stores in the US. The Amazon distribution center in Staten Island had about 8,300 employees, while the company has a total of more than 1 million US employees.

The win at the Maryland Apple Store came after union supporters withdrew their vote at an Atlanta Apple Store request a vote. Union win at Amazon’s Staten Island site is underway challenged by the company. And it followed a failed attempt by another union to represent an Amazon distribution center in Alabama. It subsequently has one union loss at a nearby Amazon facility, also on Staten Island.

Management often pressures employees to vote against a union, arguing that it is more difficult to address concerns about working conditions when there is a union, or that employees are paid less and have to pay union dues if they vote for vote for a union organization. For example, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced Salary increases for most of the company’s US employees this does not apply to shop workers who voted for a union and say that a possible wage increase is now the subject of negotiations.

Workers may also be concerned that a company might close location voting for one union while keeping others open. Workers at a Starbucks store in Ithaca, New York, claim their location getting closed because of successful union efforts. The company denies the union vote is the reason for the closure plans, but the union has filed a complaint alleging unfair labor practices.

The advantages management has when it comes to thwarting unionization efforts have caused the percentage of US workers who are unionized to fall to 10.3% in 2021, compared with 20.1% in 1983. Almost half of union members work for one level of government. Overall, only 6.1% of private sector workers are union members, including 4.4% of retail workers, mainly grocery stores.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/union-wins-right-to-represent-workers-at-an-apple-store-for-the-first-time/ Union gets first right to represent workers at an Apple store – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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