Biden says he is ‘proud’ of Apple retail workers who unionized
President Joe Biden said he was “proud” of Apple’s retail workers in Towson, Maryland, who voted this weekend to form the first-ever labor union at one of the tech giant’s US stores.
“I’m proud of them,” the President told reporters from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Monday. “Workers have a right to determine under what conditions they’re going to work or not work.”
Biden, who has also recently met with union organizers from Amazon and Starbucks, added that “everybody is better off, including the final product” because of labor unions.
Apple store employees at the Towson Town Center, a mall near Baltimore, voted by a nearly two-to-one margin to form a union, according to Saturday’s tally from the National Labor Relations Board.
Organizers are calling their union the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, or AppleCORE for short, and have garnered support from the larger International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers trade union.
The Machinists Union thanked Biden for his support on Monday. “Worker power is spreading across the country,” the union said in a tweet.
An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for comment Monday. “We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple,” the company said in a previous statement. “We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits.”
One worker-organizer at the Maryland Apple store told CNN Business shortly after the vote count on Saturday that forming a union at Apple was in large part about having a seat at the table. “Compensation is important, considering the cost of living in general and inflation, but the bigger thing is having a say,” Christie Pridgen, a technical expert at the store and one of the organizers, said. “That was the most important thing to me.”
The unionization efforts at Apple come amid a broader movement of workplace activism that emerged during the pandemic. The health crisis put a new spotlight on worker safety in the United States as well as on concerns over pay and equity within the tech sector, specifically. Meanwhile, a tight labor market has given employees new leverage to bargain with their employers.
Last month, the President shared a video of his meeting with Amazon Labor Union leader Chris Smalls shortly after the union’s landmark win at one of the e-commerce company’s facilities in Staten Island.
“Chris Smalls is making good trouble and helping inspire a new movement of labor organizing across the country,” the President wrote on Twitter. “Let’s keep it going.”
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.