Apple Retail Workers In Maryland Hold Unionization Vote
Apple employees at a retail outpost in Towson, Maryland, are set to vote in a union election on Wednesday (Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Manila), with the potential to form the first labor union in one of the tech giant's US stores, according to Catherine Thorbecke for CNN Business.
Photo Insert: An Apple Store in Maryland
Voting will take place in person at a vacant store in Towson Town Center, a mall near Baltimore that houses the Apple store, where employees are seeking to unionize. According to a notice of election posted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), polls will be open at various times on Wednesday through Saturday. The vote count is scheduled for Saturday evening. Organizers have dubbed their union the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCORE for short, and have received backing from the larger International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
The vote comes as part of a larger unionization effort within Apple. In April, organizers seeking a union election at an Apple store in Atlanta withdrew their petition. Employees at New York's Grand Central Terminal's Apple store have begun collecting signatures for a petition to unionize. The Apple initiatives are part of a wave of worker activism in the tech sector and beyond, as the pandemic has cast a new light on labor rights and working conditions, with workers attempting to leverage a tight labor market to push for better working conditions and pay.
There are particular concerns in the tech industry about the large disparity in compensation and benefits between corporate employees and retail workers and contractors.
In a statement to CNN Business, Apple emphasized the compensation and benefits it offers retail workers. "We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple," the statement said.
"We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants, and many other benefits."
Following reports of various organizing drives at Apple stores, the company has also announced that it would raise the minimum starting pay for hourly workers in the US to $22 an hour — a 45 percent increase from 2018 levels — or higher based on market conditions.