Workers at an Apple store in the United States have voted to join a trade union, becoming the first retail employees of the tech giant to unionize in the country.
A total of 110 employees at the shop in Towson, Maryland, cast their votes on Saturday to seek entry into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), with 65 in favor and 33 against, as per a live count broadcast by the federal agency overseeing the vote.
The employees are demanding a say in deciding on wages, hours and safety measures.
The vote follows a campaign for unionization by a group of employees called AppleCORE (Coalition of Organized Retail Employees).
"We did it Towson! We won our union vote! Thanks to all who worked so hard and all who supported! Now we celebrate... Tomorrow we keep organizing," AppleCORE said on Twitter.
Unionization efforts gaining ground in the US
In a statement, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr applauded the workers' "courage."
"They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election. I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and fast-track a first contract for the dedicated IAM CORE Apple employees in Towson," he said.
"This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and different industries across our nation."
The union and the workers wanting to organize said they had sent Cook a notice last month that they were seeking to form a union.
Apple is yet to comment on the vote.
The Silicon Valley giant has so far tried to discourage attempts to unionize.
Last month, Apple workers in Atlanta withdrew their request to unionize, claiming intimidation.
Saturday's vote at the Maryland Apple store comes as unionization efforts are gaining ground at some of the largest corporations in the US, including Amazon Inc and Starbucks Corp.
dvv/sri (AFP, AP, Reuters)