Oklahoma City Store Employees Filed Paperwork to hold a vote
The third US location to do so is the Penn Square Apple Store in Oklahoma City, where employees have filed with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election. Over 70% of the store’s salesmen, brilliant admins, techs, creatives, and operations specialists have signed cards indicating their interest in being represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), according to a news release.
The NLRB requires 30% of employees to sign union cards as a necessary demonstration of interest in an election.
Bloomberg previously covered the filing, and the publication quotes Michael Forsythe, an employee and store organizer in Oklahoma City, as saying that staff members want “greater openness and influence on topics including safety, scheduling, and pay.”
At one of Apple’s US retail locations, Towson Town Center in Maryland, employees successfully voted to organize a union in June. Other stores’ campaigns, such those in Louisville, Kentucky, and New York City (which also seeks to organize with the CWA), haven’t progressed to the point of holding elections. The CWA cancelled the Atlanta election because of Apple’s “continuous violations of the National Labor Relations Act,” claiming that it would be impossible to organize a fair election.
Deirdre O’Brien, vice president of people and retail at Apple, made the argument earlier this year that organizing a union would “place another entity in the midst of our relationship” and that it “does not have a deep grasp of Apple or our business.” (Apple Store employees made up the majority of the organizers in Maryland, though the union also collaborated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.) Additionally, the business has been charged with violating labor laws by preventing employees from posting union flyers and holding captive audience meetings.
Apple also addressed a key issue that some employees had: money. The business raised the starting hourly rate for its retail locations from $20 to $22 in May.
Given Apple’s ostensible opposition to unionization and the absence of elections or other visible union activity, it was simple to conclude that the movement to organize Apple’s retail stores had fizzled. It can take years to organize a site, according to experts, who have told The Verge that quick-moving campaigns like the one to organize Starbucks are unusual. In other words, the fact that news didn’t come out of New York or Atlanta every day wasn’t unusual. Additionally, Towson Town Center organizers mentioned that they had heard from individuals at other retailers who were covertly attempting to put together their own campaigns.
The Oklahoma City campaign serves as further evidence that union campaigns are still active at Apple. The NLRB will need to certify that there has been a sufficient showing of interest now that the petition has been filed. If it finds there is, Apple and the organizers can agree on how the election will be conducted (like they did in Atlanta), or the NLRB can convene a hearing and make a determination about how the election will be conducted.
Josh Lipton, a spokesman for Apple, responded when contacted for comment by saying that the firm reiterates its prior assertion. He stated to The Verge earlier this year that Apple is “lucky to have amazing retail team members and we deeply value what they do to Apple. We are happy to provide both full-time and part-time employees with very competitive pay and benefits, including health insurance, tuition reimbursement, paid family leave, new parental leave, and many other perks.