A majority of associates at the Penn Square Apple store in Oklahoma City have voted to unionize with representation by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) as the Apple Retail Union/CWA, according to the CWA. The workers, who organized under the name Penn Square Labor Alliance, are the second group of Apple associates to unionize their store.
Apple Retail Union/CWA will represent Apple salespeople, genius admins, technicians, creatives and operations specialists at the Oklahoma City location. The workers’ organizing campaign was supported through CWA’s Campaign to Organize Digital Employees, which has previously assisted workers seeking to form unions at tech companies including Alphabet and Activision Blizzard.
“We formed the Penn Square Labor Alliance with Apple Retail Union/CWA to ensure the soul of Apple —the workers— would have a fair say in our working conditions and an opportunity to create an equitable environment for our team,” said Charity Lassiter, Technical Expert and member of Apple Retail Union/CWA in a statement. “Organizing has not only brought us closer together, but it has also empowered all of us to fight hard for the respect and justice every worker deserves on the job. Now that we’ve won the election, it is our hope that management will come to the table so that we may collectively work towards building a company that prioritizes workers over profit and encourages employees to thrive. We were inspired when workers in Atlanta, Maryland and New York announced their organizing efforts and we hope that our success will inspire our colleagues nationwide.”
The first Apple store to attempt to hold a union vote was in Atlanta in April 2022, but the election proposal was withdrawn due to allegations of labor law violations and a rising number of COVID cases at the location. In June, an Apple store in Maryland’s proposed union, known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees, successfully organized under the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, marking the first official unionization campaign at the retailer.
The unionization push at Apple is happening more slowly than at Starbucks, where approximately 200 stores have organized, but the Apple efforts are still ongoing. In October 2022, the NLRB formally issued a complaint regarding alleged unfair labor practice charges that the CWA had filed against Apple, for interrogating and surveilling staff and restricting placement of union fliers at a New York City store that is pursuing a union election.