Apple workers in Maryland have voted by a nearly two-to-one margin to join a union, becoming the first retail employees of the tech giant to unionize in the United States.
More than 100 workers in Towson near Baltimore voted 65-33 on Saturday to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the union said.
The local workers, forming the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (Core), “have the support of a solid majority of our coworkers”, they said in a statement.
“This is something we do not [do] to go against or create conflict with our management,” they said.
An Apple spokesperson, responding to a request for comment, said by email the company had “nothing to add at this time”.
Unionization efforts are gaining momentum at some large US corporations, including Amazon and Starbucks.
IAM and the Apple employees who wanted to join said they had sent Apple chief exeutive Tim Cook notice last month that they were seeking to organize a union. The statement said their driving motivation was to seek “rights we do not currently have”.
The IAM international president, Robert Martinez Jr, said in the statement: “I applaud the courage displayed by Core members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory. They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election.”
Martinez called on Apple to respect the election results and to let the unionizing employees fast-track efforts to secure a contract at the Towson location.
The union bills itself as one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing about 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defence, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive and other industries.
The vote could not immediately be confirmed with the National Labor Relations Board, which would have to certify the outcome.
Apple workers in Atlanta who were seeking to unionize withdrew their request last month, claiming intimidation.
Some current and former Apple workers last year began criticizing the company’s working conditions online, using the hashtag #AppleToo.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report