Apple Penn Square employees voted for the union, second Bloombergis Josh Eidelson. The store, located in Oklahoma City, is the second Apple store to form a union in the United States after a store in Towson, Maryland earlier this year.
Employees reportedly voted 56 to 32 in favor of joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union after an election open to all store staff this week. The union must now be certified by the US National Labor Relations Board.
In response to Apple’s Penn Square employee union, an Apple spokesperson shared the following statement with Bloombergis Mark Gurman:
We believe that 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 our teams. We are proud to offer our team members strong compensation and exceptional benefits. Since 2018, we’ve increased our US starting rates by 45% and have made many significant improvements to our industry-leading benefits, including new educational and family support programs.
Unionization offers store employees the ability to negotiate more favorable working conditions and other benefits through collective bargaining.
Earlier this week, Apple announced plans to offer retail employees additional education benefits and better health coverage in some states, but unionized employees at the Towson store have been reported not to receive these benefits automatically. and they will have to negotiate through their union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), as part of their collective bargaining agreement with Apple.
Apple retail chief Deirdre O’Brien attempted to dissuade store employees from unionizing in videos played at corporate meetings, and in recent months Apple has been accused of anti-union tactics. A vote to form a union at an Apple store in Atlanta was withdrawn earlier this year after Apple reportedly informed staff there.
Over the past year, Apple has increased initial pay, improved benefits, and addressed other workplace issues during unionization efforts.
Apple has over 270 retail stores in the United States and over 520 worldwide.
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