After Amazon and Starbucks, it is Apple’s turn to have to accept the creation of a union in one of its branches in the United States. A first for the tech giant, which has so far tried to discourage unionization attempts. Of the 110 employees of the Apple Store in Towson, Maryland, 65 voted in favor and 33 against, according to the count broadcast live on Saturday, June 18, by the federal agency responsible for supervising the ballot.

“We did it, Towson!” We won ! Thanks to everyone who worked hard and supported us! “, reacted on Twitter the account of AppleCORE (Coalition of Apple distribution employees), as the employees who led the campaign were baptized. They demand a voice in deciding salaries, hours and safety measures. “Today we celebrate with the International Association of Machinists [IAM, with whom AppleCORE campaigned]. Tomorrow we continue the mobilization,” they added.

Saturday’s result means workers at that store, who had been called to vote since Wednesday, should form their branch of the IAM union, once the agency certifies the results.

Attempts to discourage

It wasn’t the first Apple Store to try to unionize, but it was the first attempt that resulted in a vote. Apple’s director of distribution and human resources, Deirdre O’Brien, had visited the store in May to address employees. “It’s your right to join a union, but it’s also your right not to join a union,” she told them, according to an audio clip released by the Vice website.

She had assured that the presence of an intermediary would complicate the relationship between Apple and its employees. “I’m concerned that an organization finds itself in the middle of our relationship, an organization that doesn’t have a deep understanding of Apple and our business,” she said. “And most importantly, an organization that I believe does not share our commitment to you. The Californian group, contacted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), refused to comment on the news.

The IAM union denounced, upstream, attempts to discourage employees from voting yes to unionization. In a video made by pro-union outlet More Perfect Union, AppleCORE activists express their “disgust” at meetings that seemed designed to deter them. “We were told, ‘Apple provides a lot of benefits, you should be grateful,'” said one. “I applaud the courage shown by CORE members (…) to achieve this historic victory,” said Robert Martinez, president of IAM International, in a statement from the union.

A booming trade unionism

“They made a huge sacrifice for millions of Apple employees across the country, all of whom watched this election,” he continued, saying the vote is a sign of the growing demand for unions in the country. Apple stores and other industries. He also called on Tim Cook, the boss of the iPhone maker, to respect the result and quickly adopt a collective agreement with the new union branch.

On the decline for several decades, the unions have won several symbolic victories in the United States in recent months, starting with the explicit support of Joe Biden. 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 NGOs, universities, museums, media .

At Amazon, the workers of a New York warehouse created a surprise in early April by voting by a majority in favor of the creation of a union, a first for the group in the United States. But this isolated victory (after two failures in Alabama and before another failure in a sorting center in New York) has so far not translated into substantive negotiations. The company asked for the result to be annulled and for a second ballot to be held, on the grounds, in particular, that the union had, in its opinion, intimidated the employees to encourage them to vote yes.

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