Workers at a Maryland Apple store authorize strike

It's been a busy weekend for union organizing efforts at U.S. Apple stores, with the union at one store voting to authorize a strike, while workers at another store voted against forming a union.

Back in 2022, workers in Towson, Maryland, became the first formally recognized union at an Apple retail store. That union, which is part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, voted Saturday to authorize a strike. The date of this potential strike has yet to be determined.

“This vote today is the first step in demonstrating our solidarity and sends a clear message to Apple,” said the IAM CORE Negotiating Committee in a statement. “The passage of the strike sanction vote highlights IAM CORE’s unwavering commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of workers in the face of challenges. As discussions with Apple management continue, we remain committed to securing tangible improvements that benefit all employees.”

The union says it has been negotiating with Apple since January 2023 over issues such as work-life balance, unpredictable scheduling, and wages.

"We deeply value our team members and we’re proud to provide them with industry leading compensation and exceptional benefits," an Apple spokesperson told Bloomberg. "As always, we will engage with the union representing our team in Towson respectfully and in good faith."

Bloomberg also reported that a vote to unionize a Short Hills, New Jersey, store with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) has failed. Before the vote, the CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge against Apple for allegedly retaliating against one of the organizers at the store by scheduling "unprecedented multiple meetings with his supervisor and denying requests for leave."

In a statement, the CWA said, "Once again, Apple has failed to respect the rights of its employees to freely choose to join a union. Instead of leaving the decision up to the workers themselves, the company turned to its usual anti-union playbook to influence the results of the election."

The CWA also said that this is "not an isolated event": Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Apple violated federal labor laws in 2022 by confiscating union flyers and interrogating staff about unionizing efforts at the Apple store in New York's World Trade Center.