Apple Store Workers Vote To Strike Over Contract Talks Delay

Staff at the Apple store in Maryland that unionised back in 2022, have voted to authorise the first ever strike.

The Guardian reported that the Maryland Apple store opted for the historic step, because progress for a first contract has stagnated.

It comes after workers at an Apple retail store in New Jersey earlier this week had voted not to join a union.

The Apple Store in Short Hills, New Jersey. Image credit: Apple

Strike vote

Staff at the store in Short Hills voted 57-41 against joining the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union, according to a tally of the vote from the National Labor Relations Board oversight body.

It should be noted that the vast majority of Apple store in the United States have not unionised -with two exceptions.

Workers at the Maryland store had in June 2022 become the first Apple retail staff in the US to unionise.

Staff at Apple Store in Towson, Maryland following the vote to form a union. Image: IAM

An Apple Store in Oklahoma City followed suite – also in 2022.

Now the workers at the Towson, Maryland, Apple store have voted to authorise a strike, the Guardian reported. This could mean they become the first Apple retail store workers to ever go on strike.

The Guardian noted that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ (IAM) Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (IAM Core) represents 100 workers at the Maryland Apple store.

David DiMaria, the machinists union’s lead organiser at the Towson Apple store, was quoted by the Guardian as saying the strike authorisation vote is the first step in the process before a strike sanction vote.

“We have more bargaining dates coming up,” said DiMaria. “We’re going to go to the table. We’re hoping the company will bargain in good faith, but frankly what we’ve seen over the past year or so is that they really haven’t been, and we filed charges based on that they’re not living up to their obligation under federal law to bargain in good faith with the union.”

DiMaria reportedly said the union is hoping Apple will follow federal labour law and live up to its own code of conduct corporate policies, and that over the past year of bargaining there hasn’t been much progress on key issues for a first contract.

Disappointing behaviour?

Earlier this year, the union had reportedly conducted a survey of Apple workers in response to the company’s workers’ rights assessment, where workers alleged the company has retaliated against workers for trying to unionise and has requested Apple sever its relationship with union avoidance consultants.

Workers at the Towson, Maryland are reportedly seeking higher wages, improvements to work-life balance, and fair scheduling practices in a first contract, while tentative agreements have been reached on several other issues.

“Apple has a certain image, they have a supplier code of conduct that recognizes employees rights to organize, they have their own human rights code of conduct. And their behaviour is just completely a 180 of what they purport to say their policy practice. So they’re really not living up to their credo, their policies, their code of conduct. It’s just, it’s really disappointing,” DiMaria was quoted as saying.

“This really now rests with the board of directors. If Apple’s not going to do the right thing, it’s because the board of directors of this company have not put pressure on the CEO to actually just follow the law. And that’s really all we’re asking for is to follow the law.”

Apple response

Apple however stated that it has engaged with the union respectfully and in good faith.

“At Apple, we work hard to provide an excellent experience for our retail team members and empower them to deliver exceptional service for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson was quoted by the Guardian as saying on the strike vote.

“We deeply value our team members and we’re proud to provide them with industry-leading compensation and exceptional benefits,” the Apple spokesperson reportedly said. “As always, we will engage with the union representing our team in Towson respectfully and in good faith,”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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