Apple Store in Oklahoma votes to unionize

Apple Store in Oklahoma votes to unionize

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A second Apple Store in the United States has officially voted to unionize. A majority of workers at the Apple Store in Oklahoma City voted in favor of unionizing on Friday and will join the Communications Workers of America union.

This comes on the heels of Apple rolling out new benefits to retail and corporate workers earlier this week, but those benefits will be withheld from stores where employees have unionized.

Apple Penn Square in Oklahoma City is the second Apple Store in the United States to unionize. The first was a store in Towson, Maryland earlier this year, where workers voted in favor of unionizing and being represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. 

Following a vote this week, the US National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots submitted by workers at Apple Penn Square on Friday evening. The majority of the 95 employees at the store voted in favor of unionizing

In a statement, Apple reiterated that it believes a “direct and collaborative” relationship is the best option for its communication with retail workers. Bloomberg has the full statement:

We believe the open, direct and collaborative relationship we have with our valued team members is the best way to provide an excellent experience for our customers, and for our teams.

We’re proud to provide our team members with strong compensation and exceptional benefits. Since 2018, we’ve increased our starting rates in the US by 45% and we’ve made many significant enhancements to our industry-leading benefits, including new educational and family support programs.

Apple has warned employees about some of the potential downsides to unionizing, particularly around how it impacts communication between leadership and employees.

In a video and memo distributed to Apple Stores last month, retail chief Deirdre O’Brien explained how a union could hurt employees and lead to “fewer opportunities” and “less attention to merit.” O’Brien did note to employees that “it’s your right to join a union, but it’s equally your right not to join a union.”

The company has also made a number of improvements to benefits for workers, including raising minimum compensation for retail employees to $22 per hour.

Now that employees at the Apple Store in Oklahoma City have voted in favor of unionizing, contract negotiations between management and the Communication Workers of America can begin. This process working towards a collective bargaining agreement can take more than a year, as Bloomberg points out.

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