Maryland Apple Workers Face Hurdles After Vote to Unionize

TOWSON, Md. — The historic vote by employees of a Maryland Apple store to unionize — a first for the technology giant — is a significant step in a lengthy process that labor experts say is heavily stacked against workers in favor of their employers.

Apple store employees in a Baltimore suburb voted to unionize by a nearly 2-to-1 margin Saturday, joining a growing push across U.S. retail, service and tech industries to organize for greater workplace protections.

It’s not yet clear whether the recent wave of unionizations represent a broader shift in U.S. labor. But experts say the current shortage of workers for hourly and low-wage jobs means employees have more power than they had historically, especially when unemployment is low.
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“It’s not that big a deal to lose one of these jobs because you can get another crummy job,” said Ruth Milkman, labor scholar at the City University of New York.

The question is, what happens now?

The Apple retail workers in Towson, Maryland, voted 65-33 to seek entry into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the union’s announcement said. The National Labor Relations Board now has to certify the outcome. A spokesperson referred initial queries about the vote to the board’s regional office, which was closed late Saturday. The board did not immediately respond to an Associated Press message on Sunday.

Once the vote is certified, the union and Apple can begin negotiating a contract.

“Labor law in the United States is a is a long process. And so the fact that a single store negotiates or elects a union doesn’t mean that there’s a negotiated contract in the workplace. And we know in recent history that in many of these situations, parties are unable to come to terms on an initial contract,” Michael Duff, a former NRLB lawyer …read more

Source:: Time – Business

      

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