Apple Store Workers In Oklahoma Join Union
Apple workers in Oklahoma City have voted to form the second-ever labor union at one of the company’s US stores, in the latest sign that organizing efforts are gaining traction inside and outside the tech and retail industries, Catherine Thorbecke and Chris Isidore reported for CNN Business.
Photo Insert: 56 workers, or 64% of those casting ballots at the Penn Square Mall Apple store, voted to be represented by the Communication Workers of America, and 32 voted against it.
In a preliminary tally by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Friday evening, 56 workers, or 64% of those casting ballots at the Penn Square Mall Apple store, voted to be represented by the Communication Workers of America, and 32 voted against it.
Turnout was strong, with 88 of a potential 95 workers participating in the vote. The union victory comes four months after Apple store workers in Towson, Maryland, made history by voting to form Apple’s first US unionized location.
In late June, the NLRB officially certified the union election win. When including government employees, only 10.3% of workers nationwide are union members, roughly half the rate of union membership in 1983, the first year it was tracked by the Labor Department, when union membership made up 20.1% of the nation’s workers.
In December, a Starbucks store in Buffalo became the first to unionize at one of the coffee retailer's company-owned U.S. stores. At least 150 of Starbucks' 9,000 company-run U.S. stores have voted to unionize since then, according to the National Labor Relations Board, and at least 10 stores have rejected the union.
Despite union wins at Starbucks, Amazon, and Apple, labor laws keep cards stacked against organizers.
Workers at both locations have said they’re looking to unionize in an effort to have more of a say in how their stores are run. Some also said they were inspired by union pushes this year at Amazon and Starbucks.
The vote was roughly in line with what employees leading the organizing effort were expecting, according to Leigha Briscoe, one of the members of the organizing committee at the store.
“We felt like we had the majority support, and as long a people got out and cast their vote, we would win,” Briscoe told CNN Business late Friday after the vote tally. Briscoe has been an employee at the store for six years. She said the employees who wanted to form a union approached CWA, rather than CWA trying to organize the store on its own.
Briscoe, 28, is typical of many of the younger workers leading successful union organizing drives nationwide in the wake of the pandemic. Many of the successful efforts, such as at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, and at more than 200 Starbucks stores nationwide, have been led by workers in their 20s or early 30s.