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Apple staff could go on strike at the first US store to unionize

Shubhangi Goel   

Apple staff could go on strike at the first US store to unionize
  • Workers at a Towson, Maryland, Apple store have authorized a strike.
  • Concerns include work-life balance, unpredictable scheduling, and wages lower than living costs.

Workers at an Apple store in Towson, Maryland — the first US store to unionize — have authorized a strike.

Employees voted "overwhelmingly" in favor of allowing a strike, their retail labor union said in a statement on Saturday.

The issues "include concerns over work-life balance, unpredictable scheduling practices disrupting personal lives, and wages failing to align with the area's cost of living," the statement said.

The workers voted to unionize in June 2022 and have been negotiating with Apple's management since January 2023. Their past proposals for Apple have included more time off and the introduction of a tipping system. Saturday's statement did not include information about what specifics the union is currently negotiating over with Apple.

No date has been set for the strike, the union said.

The employees at the Towson store organized as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees in 2022 when they voted to be represented by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.

About 100 Towson Apple store employees belong to the union, which also represents 600,000 workers from companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and United Airlines.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment sent outside regular working hours.

In a statement to the Associated Press, the tech giant said: "We deeply value our team members and we're proud to provide them with industry leading compensation and exceptional benefits."

The tech company is facing labor-related issues at the Maryland store and elsewhere.

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint on behalf of the Towson workers, which alleged Apple denied benefits to workers at the store.

Apple's Towson store is one of two in the US that have successfully unionized. A store in Oklahoma City joined the Communications Workers of America union in October 2022. An Apple store in New Jersey voted against unionizing on Saturday.

Last week, the National Labor Review Board found that Apple illegally interrogated workers over pro-union activities at a New York City location. In December 2022, the NLRB said Apple violated labor law at its Atlanta location, where it interrogated workers and forced them to attend anti-union meetings, per the NLRB.

Other American retail giants' staff at various stores have also unionized in recent years, including Starbucks and Amazon. Employees at both companies have gone on strike in the past to protest unfair working conditions.

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