Beginning June 15th, employees at a Maryland site will vote in person.
Apple Inc. shop employees in three states are attempting to form separate unions, potentially complicating the labor struggle against the Silicon Valley behemoth.
More than 100 Apple employees in Atlanta will vote next month on whether or not to join the Communications Workers of America, as part of the union’s larger drive to organize workers at big tech corporations. Another Maryland business is forming a union with the International Association of Machinists, a trade organization with origins in the defense and aerospace industries. Workers at a Manhattan Starbucks are organizing under Workers United, the union that has taken over Starbucks locations around the country, in the hopes that lightning will strike twice.
However, several labor activists privately warn that if particular unions do not rally behind a standard-bearer, it will be tough. Although it is early in the process and some involved say it has gone smoothly so far, internal competition for the same proportion of workers might make winning elections and negotiating a first contract with Apple more difficult.
“Sometimes we chew each other up,” said Tefere Gebre, former executive vice president of the AFL-CIO. “This has been an issue in the US labor movement for a long time.” “It’s a difference between an institution and a movement.”
He continued, “I’m sure if you asked any of these unions, they’d tell you they’re the ones organizing Apple.”
Coalition of Organized Retail Employees is the name given to the organizers (AppleCore). They want to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to form a union.
The group stated in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook that “a strong majority” of employees backed the union campaign. They are organizing “out of a profound love of our function as workers within the company and out of care for the company itself,” they stated. They want “access to rights that we do not now have” and for Apple to apply the same supplier neutrality agreements to workers, “so that as employees we can receive our rights to information and collective bargaining that the law provides us through unionization.”
They’ll be the second group of Apple Store employees to vote for a union. In early June, employees at the Cumberland Mall in Atlanta will vote on whether to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
Apple Store employees in areas other than Towson and Atlanta are organizing union drives as well. Workers at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal have been gathering signatures for a union vote.
While Apple has agreed to the elections in Maryland and Georgia, unionization initiatives are apparently being fought by the business. Starbucks is alleged to have engaged the same anti-union law firm. At other locations, the firm is also said to have used anti-union talking points in pre-shift meetings. In Unfair Labor Practices papers this week, workers at two outlets accused Apple of union busting.