Apple store near Baltimore becomes third to start union bid

Organizers sent a letter to CEO Tim Cook informing him of their intent to form a union.

Alyssa Pointer / reuters

Employees at an Apple store in Towson, Maryland sent a letter to CEO Tim Cook today informing him of their bid to unionize, reported The Washington Post. The group, which has deemed itself the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCore for short, represents the third Apple retail outfit reported to be in the the process of unionizing. One Apple store in Atlanta is scheduled to hold a union vote in June, and another location in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal is collecting signatures. Earlier this year The Post reported that a number of other Apple stores are quietly exploring a potential union campaign, but have yet to make their efforts public.

“As our store approaches its 20th year anniversary we think about the history of this company and how we have always been different; because we have always thought differently. Today we are asking you to do the same and to pledge not to use your resources to engage in an anti-union campaign to dissuade us,” AppleCore’s members wrote in the letter. Last month, The Verge reported that Apple contracted the major anti-union law firm, Littler Mendelson, which union organizers saw as a likely attempt to nip union efforts in the bud.

The Towson group claims to have the support of around 65 percent of eligible workers, giving them a supermajority of the store’s employees. A workplace only needs signatures from thirty percent of its employees to hold an NLRB union election, but a majority of workers must support unionization in order for a campaign to be successful. As with the other Apple stores which have gone public with their intentions to unionize, Towson workers cited a lack of flexibility in scheduling, concerns around covid safety as well as stagnating pay. Lagging pay seems particularly rankling, as Apple has posted huge gains over the pandemic, even while the economy at large slumps towards a potential recession.

In a statement to The Post, an Apple spokesperson responded to the letter. “We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple. We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits.”

The Towson store plans to file paperwork later this month with the National Labor Relations Board. Employees at this specific store, located in the Towson Mall, are coordinating with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a labor union that mostly represents the aerospace and defense industry.