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Apple staff in Oklahoma City push to unionize store

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Apple employees have filed a petition to unionize their Oklahoma City store, following thousands of other stores across the country.

Workers petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to vote on joining the Communications Workers of America union.

The store at Penn Square Mall is one of the iPhone maker's approximately 270 US retail outlets.

This move comes almost two months after its store workers in Maryland voted to form a union with the International Association of Machinists.

READ MORE: APPLE COULD FACE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANTITRUST LAWSUIT

Unions have set up their footings at Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and Chipotle Mexican Grill in the last two years.

Michael Forsythe, an Oklahoma City employee and one of the campaign's leaders said: “This is a really great time to bring back the labor movement.”

CWA estimates that nearly 70 percent of the store's eligible workers have joined the union, which covers a wide range of industries including aviation, technology, and media.

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Michael Forsythe, an Oklahoma City employee and one of the campaign's leaders said: “This is a really great time to bring back the labor movement.”

CWA estimates that nearly 70 percent of the store's eligible workers have joined the union, which covers a wide range of industries including aviation, technology, and media.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When the labor board deems that a union has signed up at least 30 percent of an eligible potential bargaining unit at a workplace and the firm has not voluntarily agreed to recognize the group, the agency holds an election.

READ MORE: STARBUCKS ATTEMPTS TO PAUSE ELECTIONS AT ITS US STORES AS BATTLE AGAINST UNIONS CONTINUES

If the union receives a majority of the votes, the firm is legally obligated to bargain collectively over workplace conditions.

Apple employees in Oklahoma City may be the first from the company to vote on joining CWA.

The union, which won elections this year among Verizon Communications retail employees, Activision Blizzard quality-assurance testers, and subcontracted Google Fiber staff, has said it has heard from several Apple employees around the US.

It filed a petition in April to represent Apple store employees in Atlanta.

However, a week before a planned vote, it retracted that request, citing alleged unlawful union busting by Apple along with Covid-19 safety concerns with in-person voting.

READ MORE: AMAZON WAREHOUSE WORKERS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK SEEK TO UNIONIZE

Apple was asked about union efforts and claims of union-busting.

The company replied it is “pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees.

“Including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits.”

Apple was asked about union efforts and claims of union-busting.

Apple retail head Deirdre O'Brien voiced concerns about "what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship" in a video address to staffers earlier this year.

In addition, the firm stated in May that it will raise the minimum wage for its retail workers to $22 per hour.

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The workers in Oklahoma City said they were spurred by the Atlanta campaign and have spoken with the people behind it to learn what kind of response to expect from the firm and how to deal with it.

Forsythe, who has been at Apple for nine years said employees want more transparency and input on matters like safety, scheduling, and compensation.

He said: “I do really love the company. 

“There are changes that I do know need to happen, but I don’t believe it’s necessary with our direct managers. 

“I see this as a thing between the workers and Big Apple.”

Source: Bloomberg

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