Apple Store in Maryland Becomes First in US to Unionize

NBC Universal, Inc.

An Apple store in Maryland has voted to join a union and now the rest of the tech industry is watching to see what happened next. 

"We're literally the face of Apple,” said employee Chaya Barrett. “How is it fair that we're being dictated what to do, what to say, how to act, but we don't get any say in what's happening in our lives."

In Maryland, they want collective bargaining, and more COVID safety. In Apple stores across the country, the question is now, who else will vote to join the union?

"That's where all of the energy and enthusiasm and optimism in the labor movement is concentrated,” said John Logan, UCSF business professor.

Big companies with gigantic profits, like Amazon and Starbucks, are already seeing a rise in union membership. But Apple? That would be even bigger. 

NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai spoke to Business and Tech Reporter Scott Budman about what's expected to happen now that an Apple store in Maryland voted to unionize -- a first in the U.S.

"The union development at Apple generates an absolutely incredible amount of both traditional and social media coverage. Everyone hears about this,” said Logan.

For now, it's only one store. But those who made it happen at that store have a message. 

"Don't be scared, because it's scary,” said employee Grahan DeYoung. “That's OK, but don't be. Realize that if we can do it, you can do it."

Apple didn’t have any comment on the union vote Monday but the company has recently raised its own minimum wage to $22 an hour.

That's for everywhere in the country, including in the Bay Area.

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