Apple Store Union Says The Company Is Stalling On A Contract


Protect Your Access to the Internet

Apple Store workers from Towson, Maryland, have been meeting with the company at a hotel in downtown Baltimore this week to negotiate what they hope will be a groundbreaking union contract at the tech giant.

But after four two-day bargaining sessions since January, those workers say they aren’t convinced Apple ever wants to reach a deal with its first unionized shop in the U.S.

“They are fighting us at every step of the process,” Kevin Gallagher, who teaches classes for customers at the Apple Store, told HuffPost during a break in talks at the hotel. “It feels like they’re trying to drag this out as long as they can.”

Gallagher and his pro-union co-workers emerged victorious in their election last June, voting 65 to 33 in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, or IAM — one in a string of recent high-profile victories for organized labor at previously non-union companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and REI.

But like workers at those other companies, the Apple Store employees have an even heavier lift still ahead of them: bargaining a first contract at a powerful employer that wants to keep unions out.

“They don’t seem to want to accept that they have a union now,” Jay Wadleigh, a business representative for the IAM who is leading negotiations for the union, said of Apple.

The stakes are high for both sides, since a solid collective bargaining agreement can convince Apple workers elsewhere to try to unionize. The company is facing organizing campaigns not only from the IAM but also the Communications Workers of America, which formed the company’s second retail union last October, at a store in Oklahoma.

“They are fighting us at every step of the process. It feels like they’re trying to drag this out as long as they can.”

– Kevin Gallagher, Apple Store worker and union bargaining committee member

Billy Jarboe, who, like Gallagher, is a member of the Towson store’s bargaining committee, said he was outraged last week when he learned managers had shared a small handful of the union’s proposals with non-union stores during their morning meetings. Jarboe said the proposals were cherry-picked and…