Image source: Apple Insider
In Oklahoma City, Apple store workers successfully voted to form the second union in one of the company’s US stores.
The decision to unionize is the latest movement to indicate how organizational efforts are gaining ground within the tech and retail industries, among others.
Last Friday evening, the National Labor Relations Council carried out a tally.
Fifty-six workers, or 64%, of the votes at the Apple Store in Penn Square Mall voted to be represented by the Communication Workers of America.
Meanwhile, 32 workers voted against it.
88 of the 95 potential workers participated in the vote, resulting in a high turnout.
The union vote follows the victory in Towson, Maryland, where Apple Store employees made history by voting to establish Apple’s first unionized location in the United States.
At the end of June, the NLRB officially certified the union’s election victory.
Workers from Oklahoma and Maryland said they want to organize to gain more say in how their stores are run.
Some workers said their decision to unionize stemmed from union pushes at Amazon and Starbucks.
Read also: AppleCORE Becomes the Latest Union Movement Across the Industries
The tech giant did not comment on the voting results but released a statement later.
“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 our 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.”
Oklahoma store efforts
Leigha Briscoe, a member of the store’s organizing committee, said the vote aligned with the expectations of the staff leading the effort.
“We felt like we had the majority support, and as long as people got out and cast their vote, we would win,” she said after the tally.
Briscoe worked for six years at the Apple Store in Penn Square Mall.
According to her, workers who wanted to form a union turned to the CWA instead of waiting for the union to organize the store.
Briscoe, 28, is part of a wave of young workers leading union-organizing campaigns across the United States in the wake of the pandemic.
The union effort at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island and more than 200 Starbucks stores across the country has been led chiefly by workers in their 20s and early 30s.
In the first six months of 2022, 826 union elections were held, 45% more than in the same period last year.
There was a 70% success rate in union elections this year, compared to 42% in the first seven months of 2021.
However, only 41,000 potential union members were eligible to vote in the 2022 elections.
Read also: Apple Store’s Union Efforts in Towson, Maryland Could Inspire Other Stores to Follow Suit
Nationwide union numbers
If unions win all the votes, it would be a small fraction of the more than 100 million employees in non-union companies, according to Department of Labor statistics.
To date, the retail sector has the lowest trade union rate.
Data from the Department of Labor shows that only 4.4% of retail workers in the United States are unions, compared with 6.1% of corporate workers.
Including civil servants, only 10.3% of workers nationwide are union members, about half the number of union members in 1983.
Union membership represented 20.1% of the country’s workers in 1983. Unfortunately, the state of Oklahoma is not a popular area for union activity.
According to the Ministry of Labor, only 5.6% of workers are unions, less than the national rate of 10.3%.