Apple store employees in Towson, Maryland, have passed a vote to unionize, marking the tech giant’s first store in the U.S. to join a labor union.

On Saturday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced the new measures would allow workers to be represented by the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, also known as the Apple Core union, following the 65-33 vote.

The employees will also become a part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers once the NLRB certifies the vote.

The union is expected to offer workers more influence over COVID-19 policies and wages.

Following the vote, Tyra Reeder, a technical specialist at the Towson location, revealed she was hopeful that the union could help increase salaries, create an easier path for promotions within the company, and stabilize the store’s scheduling, which became unpredictable due to COVID-19.

“We love our jobs. We just want to see them do better,” Reeder said.

The road to unionizing was not easy for Towson Apple store employees, who claimed things became “nasty” ahead of the historic vote when Apple launched an anti-union campaign.

Managers reportedly attempted to use various methods to discourage workers from going forward with the union vote, including telling staffers that unions previously didn’t allow Black employees to join.

While Apple’s strategy didn’t work in Maryland, employees in Atlanta seemingly abandoned plans to unionize after the tech company increased wages and suggested that workers could lose their benefits if union contract negotiations fell apart.

“For that to happen, a majority of us have to agree,” Reeder explained. “I don’t think any of us would agree to lose something we love dearly, that benefits us.”

While the Towson location was the first of the 270 Apple stores in the U.S. to vote to form a union, it may not be the last. Employees in New York and Louisville, Kentucky, have begun taking steps toward unionization.

Logo of an Apple store is seen in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2022.
Logo of an Apple store is seen in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2022. Reuters / Joshua Roberts
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