Apple workers vote to unionise at Maryland store in first for US

Union organising in a variety of fields has gained momentum recently after decades of decline in US union membership

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Apple store employees in Maryland voted to unionise by a nearly two to one margin on Saturday, joining a growing push across US retail, service, and tech industries to organise for greater workplace protections.

The Apple retail workers in Towson, Maryland, voted 65-33 to seek entry into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the union’s announcement said.

The vote could not immediately be confirmed with the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB), which would have to certify the outcome.

However, an NLRB spokesperson referred initial queries about the vote to its regional office, which was closed late on Saturday.

Apple declined to comment on the development, company spokesperson Josh Lipton told the Associated Press.

Union organising in a variety of fields has gained momentum recently after decades of decline in US union membership.

Various organisers have worked to establish unions at companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, outdoors retailer REI, and Google parent company Alphabet.

Apple employees who wanted to join the union said they had sent CEO Tim Cook a notice last month stating that they were seeking to organise a union.

The statement said their driving motivation was to seek “rights we do not currently have”. It added that the workers had recently organised in the Coalition of Organised Retail Employees, or Core.

“I applaud the courage displayed by Core members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory,” said IAM international president Robert Martinez Jr in a statement.

“They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election.”

Mr Martinez called on Apple to respect the election results and to let the unionising employees fast-track efforts to secure a contract at the Towson location.

Additional reporting by agencies

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