Apple Suffers a Major Setback

iPhone maker joins Amazon in a club rejected by Silicon Valley.

Apple  (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report belongs to the ultra select club of companies worth more than $2 trillion.

In fact, there are only two members in this exclusive club: the iPhone maker with a market capitalization of $2.129 trillion, and the oil giant Saudi Aramco with a valuation of $2.257 trillion.

It is a club that makes people envious. Any business in the world would love to be a part of it. Software giant Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Microsoft Corporation Report is currently knocking on the door with a valuation of $1.852 trillion.

But there is another club that very few of the giants of Silicon Valley would like to join: that of companies with unions. After Amazon  (AMZN) – Get Inc. Report, Apple is now part of it.

Employees of an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland have just voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, or IAM, according to the union. 

The vote tally was 65-33 according to IAM.

‘We Did It’

“We did it Towson! We won our union vote!” organizers posted on Twitter. “Thanks to all who worked so hard and all who supported! Now we celebrate with  @machinistsunion. Tomorrow we keep organizing.”

Apple Store in Towson is a small location inside a mall, with approximately 110 eligible to vote.

This is a first for Apple, which means that the firm will have to negotiate with the union after the National Labor Relations Board certifies the results.

It wasn’t the first Apple Store to try to unionize, but it was the first attempt that resulted in a vote.

“That feeling when ⁦you form the first union at Apple in America. Congrats, @acoreunion! Welcome to the Machinists Union! #1u,” International Association of Machinists union tweeted.

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

“I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and fast-track a first contract for the dedicated IAM CORE Apple employees in Towson,” he said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple Tried to Discourage Workers to Join

The company was opposed to this attempt to unionize.

Apple’s head of retail and human relations, Deirdre O’Brien, had visited the store in May to address employees. She had assured that the presence of an intermediary would complicate the relationship between Apple and its employees.

“I want to start out by saying it’s your right to join a union, but it’s equally your right not to join a union,” O’Brien said, according to audio published by Vice. “If you’re faced with that decision, I want to encourage you to consult a wide range of people and sources to understand what it could be like to work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement.”

O’Brien also says she believes that Apple is responsive to employee concerns and that a union would make it harder for corporate officials to address issues raised by workers.

Apple reported over $365 billion in global sales in 2021, and says it offers strong compensation and benefits to retail employees, including a minimum wage over $22 per hour.

AppleCORE members campaigned with the IAM. They demand a voice in deciding salaries, hours and safety measures. 

“To be clear, the decision to form a union is about us as workers gaining access to rights that we do not currently have,”  organizers wrote in a letter to CEO Tim Cook. 

On the decline for several decades, the unions have won several symbolic victories in the United States in recent months.

The creation of the first union in a Starbucks coffee directly managed by the chain in the United States in December aroused enthusiasm while employees, often young and educated, mobilized in nonprofits, universities, museums, media. 

At Amazon, the employees of a New York warehouse created a surprise in early April by voting in favor of the creation of a union, a first for the e-commerce giant in the United States.

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