The Apple Store unionization movement is showing no signs of slowing down, with the Penn Square store in Oklahoma City the latest to seek to join a union.
Around 70% of staff have applied to join the Communications Workers of America union, and they say they are prepared for any union-busting tactics Apple may deploy…
We first learned of retail staff plans to unionize back in February.
Groups at two stores prepared paperwork to file with the National Labor Relations Board, with about six more locations at earlier stages of planning at that time.
The main source of dissatisfaction is due to wages. Apple pays retail employees in the range of $20-$30 per hour, depending on role and seniority. Workers say these rates have not kept up with inflation. However, a recent union survey revealed that pay is far from the only concern.
Things progressed in April, with a formal start to the process at Apple’s flagship Grand Central Terminal store in New York, with a number of goals for a better deal for staff. This was followed by similar moves in Atlanta and Maryland, before expanding internationally to the UK and Australia.
Apple has so far reacted aggressively, hiring the same union-busting lawyers employed by Starbucks. The company is now facing multiple accusations of using illegal union-busting techniques. Employment experts have warned that these techniques can work, but may have long-lasting negative consequences.
Oklahoma City store joins Apple Store unionization movement
Bloomberg reports on the latest developments:
Apple Inc. workers in Oklahoma City petitioned Thursday to unionize their store, extending a wave of organizing within the company and the broader retail industry.
Employees filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) seeking a vote on joining the Communications Workers of America union […]
“This is a really great time to bring back the labor movement,” said Oklahoma City employee Michael Forsythe, one of the leaders of the campaign there. Roughly 70% of the store’s eligible workers have signed up with the union, according to the CWA, which represents a swath of industries including technology, airlines and media.
The NLRB will check that at least 30% of eligible workers have signed up in order to progress to the next stage. That will be a formal election in which the majority of staff have to vote in favor.
As with other stores, it is likely that Apple will oppose the move. It has previously been accused of intimidation and failing to live up to its own values in the way it responds.
Union organizers say that they know what opposition they expect to face from Apple, and are prepared for it.
The Oklahoma City workers said they were inspired by the Atlanta campaign, and have consulted with employees behind it to know what pushback to expect from the company and how to withstand it.
Issues unions may seek to address with Apple
Unions consult with their members to choose which issues to prioritize in their negotiations with an employer. We recently learned about a survey being carried out by Maryland Store union organizers. This asked members to rate the importance of each of a long list of issues, from “Not important” to “Essential.”
- General wage increases
- Transparency on wages/pay brackets
- Premium pay for special skills (eg, non-English-speaking employees)
- Reduce the time it takes to reach the maximum rate of pay
- Add cost-of-living adjustment
- Add pension plan (see attached)
- Add profit sharing
- Improve 401(k) savings plan
- Improve medical coverage
- Improve dental coverage
- Improve vision coverage
- Improve mental health coverage
- Improve pet insurance coverage
- Improve accident and sickness coverage
- Improve life insurance coverage
- Medical cost containment
- Overtime procedures
- Increase paid holidays
- More vacation time
- Improve sick leave benefits
- Improve policies/procedures for approval of paid time off
- Improve bereavement pay and/or policy/ies
- Implement seniority language (ie, layoff, recall rights, transfers, promotions & shift prefs)
- Improve job security
- Respect shown to employees from management
- Improve communication from management to employees
- Workplace safety and/or security
- Health and welfare of employees (ie, ergonomics, air quality at workplace)
- Increase input in work design and/or production numbers (to achieve sustainable workload)
- Improve management’s commitment to employee professional growth and development
- Clear guidelines for attendance policy
- Clear guidelines for promotions
- Improve scheduling and availability
- Improve work-life balance
- Implement a four-day work week
- Implement one work-from-home day per pay week
- Improve “clocking-in/out” policies
- Increase staffing
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