Videos shared social media showed cheering scenes of employees cheering in the store. In a mission statement ahead of the vote, Oklahoma staffers said they were fighting for better pay, career advancement and better health and wellness in their work environments.
“We believe that a company gains great value when its people are truly represented,” they said on their website. They added that they were fighting “for the soul of Apple” and to “bring the spotlight back on the company”.
The next step is for the US National Labor Relations Board to officially certify the vote before contract negotiations can begin between one of the world’s most valuable companies and the new union.
Apple Store Employees Approve Union, First in U.S.
An Apple spokesperson said in a statement to The Washington Post on Saturday: “We believe the open, direct and collaborative relationship we have with our valued team members is the best way to provide our customers and our teams with an excellent experience.
“We are proud to offer our team members strong compensation and exceptional benefits. Since 2018, we’ve increased our US start rates by 45% and made many significant improvements to our industry-leading benefits, including new education and family support programs.”
After the turbulence of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing inflation and the cost of living, workers are increasingly coming together to demand better wages, benefits and greater job security.
In New York, the first Amazon warehouse voted to unionize in the spring, while dozens of Starbucks stores across the country have also joined a union this year. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
“Let me congratulate the employees of the Apple Store in Oklahoma City for voting to become the 2nd Apple Store union in the US,” tweeted sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday. “Last year, Apple made a record profit of $95 billion. The billionaire CEO made $99 million in 2021. It’s time for Apple to treat its employees with respect.”
Some Apple Store employees in the US are working to unionize, as part of a growing resistance from workers
In June, Apple employees in the Baltimore area became the first of the tech giant’s US stores to unite in the United States. Employees at the Towson, Maryland store, voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) 65 to 33.
President Biden, who describes himself as a pro-union, said at the time that he was proud of the Apple workers in Towson. “Employees have the right to determine under what conditions they will work or not,” he said.
Apple store employees in Maryland, Atlanta and other locations are trying to launch union actions, but the moves still represent only a trickle, as the global tech giant has more than 270 retail locations in the United States, according to its website.