The majority of retail employees at an Apple Inc. store in Oklahoma City have decided to unionise, strengthening labour’s position at the most valuable firm in the world.
Around 95 of the company’s which is housed in the posh Penn Square Mall, cast ballots in an election on Friday night, and the results were tabulated by the US National Labor Relations Board. The Communications Workers of America was elected by the employees, making it the second of Apple’s around 270 US stores to unionise.
Following a vote by employees at a Maryland retailer to join the International Association of Machinists in June, the CWA won. This is one of several historic victories this year at formerly union-free US businesses.
In addition to Starbucks Corp., labour organisers have also made headway at Amazon.com Inc., Trader Joe’s, and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. The union’s success at Starbucks has quickly gone from one early victory in Buffalo, New York, to hundreds more victories nationwide.
“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,” Apple said in a statement.
“We’re proud to provide our team members with strong 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, including new educational and family support programs.”
Similar to the Machinists’ triumph in Towson, Maryland, the Oklahoma vote may inspire Apple employees who have been secretly considering uniting elsewhere to act soon. The campaign’s potential to go nationwide is highlighted by the fact that it was successful in a strongly Republican state with a unionisation rate that is only about half that of the US average.
(With inputs from agencies)
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