In the News June 27
Workers Organize in Defence of Their Rights
Apple Workers Unionize in Maryland, U.S.
Apple workers at the Towson, Maryland store voted by a two-thirds majority to unionize. This is the first of Apple’s 270 plus U.S. stores to do so.
Like Amazon and Starbucks workers, the Apple workers created their own union, the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees. It is independent and associated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which more commonly represents industrial workers, currently more than 300,000.
Given this association, like Amazon, Apple tried to claim those supporting the union were outsiders and “third parties.” Apple sent their vice-president of retail to the store to intimidate workers. Their tactics included a video with the message that a union would disrupt “our relationship.” Workers responded that they were taking matters into their own hands and that they were the union. Those workers were the organizers and known by their fellow workers.
This is the example being set by retail and warehouse workers. They are their own organizers and creating unions of their own making.
The union organizers at the Maryland store rejected numerous intimidation efforts by Apple. These included threats of losing benefits and being called in for “one-on-one meetings” where management denounced the union efforts.
Workers expressed their concerns about scheduling, worker’s compensation and COVID-related issues. Apple ignored these concerns, while trying to block union support by saying the union would “hurt business.” Apple also announced that starting wages would be increased to $22 an hour.
The workers responded by voting 65 to 33 to unionize the Baltimore-area store. The National Labor Relations Board announced the result of the vote on June 18.
Encouraged by the result, Apple workers elsewhere are also organizing. And with recent union wins at Starbucks and Amazon, workers from all three are discussing together how to further advance their struggles and better secure their rights.
Workers’ Forum, posted June 27, 2022.