- Employees at an Apple shop in Oklahoma City decided to form a union on Friday.
- The voting count was 56 in favour and 32 against.
- The ballots will be certified by the National Labor Relations Board in the next week. Following that, Apple is expected to negotiate working conditions with the union.
Employees at an Apple store in Oklahoma City voted on Friday to form a union, making it the country’s second unionised Apple store.
The vote is a setback for Apple, which has consistently fought unionisation initiatives around the country. It’s a victory for Communications Workers of America, which now represents shop employees after separate unionisation campaigns in Georgia and New York City failed.
The voting count was 56 in favour and 32 against. CWA membership was open to around 94 employees. Voting was held earlier this week.
“The Penn Square Apple retail employees are an incredible contribution to our growing labour movement, and we are happy to welcome them as CWA members,” said Sara Steffens, Secretary-Treasurer of the CWA.
“We think that the open, direct, and collaborative connection we have with our valued team members is the best approach to create an exceptional experience for our customers and our teams,” Apple said in a statement, adding that it had boosted beginning pay in the United States by 45% since 2018.
The vote was just the second for an Apple shop in the United States. Workers in Maryland decided in June to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to form a union.
Another election was planned for Atlanta, but the CWA cancelled it, stating that the business rendered a fair election “impossible” by threatening workers.
Workers decided to join the Communications Workers of America, making it the second shop in the United States to unionise.
The CWA’s triumph comes after employees at a Maryland store voted in June to join another labour organisation, the International Association of Machinists, marking one of many ground-breaking victories this year at previously union-free US firms.
Labour organisers have also made inroads at Amazon.com Inc., Trader Joe’s, and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. – as well as Starbucks Corp., where the union’s rapid spread from one initial victory in Buffalo, New York, to hundreds of successful votes across the country demonstrated how galvanising a victory can be.
The ballots will be certified by the National Labor Relations Board in the next week. Following that, Apple is expected to negotiate working conditions with the union.
According to a CWA filing earlier this month, Apple has fought the union, claiming that management organised anti-union meetings and threatened to withdraw incentives from unionised shops.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Maryland is ready to begin official negotiations with Apple at the company’s first unionised store in the United States. According to reports, they informed employees that some benefits, such as tuition prepayment or access to online courses, would have to be negotiated with the union.
Apple is one of the most valuable firms in the world, with global revenues of more than $365 billion in 2021. It operates over 270 locations in the United States.
What became of the Apple store unionisation campaign?
Apple has received many accusations concerning anti-union practices, including one in Oklahoma, where the CWA filed charges against the firm with the NLRB earlier this month.
According to the union, Apple interrogated and surveilled workers at the Penn Square store, held captive audience meetings (even on the busy iPhone 14 Plus launch day, according to Public Radio Tulsa), and told them that if they voted to organise, they would not receive the same benefits as non-unionized stores. The last argument is supported by a Bloomberg article, which claims that they told staff at the unionised shop in Maryland that they would have to bargain for benefits similar to those provided to workers at other locations.
The CWA claimed similar activity in Atlanta and New York. The NLRB studied the later charges and recently announced that they had validity, launching their own case against Apple. In the run-up to the Maryland election, it recruited anti-union attorneys and had management try to discourage employees from unionising.