The Apple Store’s unionization movement shows no signs of slowing down, with the Penn Square store in Oklahoma City the latest to seek union membership.
About 70% of staff have applied to join the Communications Workers of America union, and they say they’re ready for any union busting tactics Apple might deploy…
We first learned that retail workers were planning to unionize in February.
Groups at two stores have prepared documents to file with the National Labor Relations Board, with about six other locations in earlier planning stages at this time.
The main source of dissatisfaction is due to salaries. Apple pays retail employees between $20 and $30 an hour, depending on role and seniority. Workers say these rates have not kept up with inflation. However, a recent union survey revealed that compensation is far from the only concern.
Things progressed in April, with an official launch of the process at Apple’s flagship store, Grand Central Terminal, in New York, with a number of goals for a better staff deal. This was followed by similar moves to Atlanta and Maryland, before expanding internationally to the UK and Australia.
So far, Apple has responded aggressively by hiring the same union-busting lawyers employed by Starbucks. The company now faces multiple charges of using illegal union-busting techniques. Employment experts have warned that these techniques can work, but can have long-term negative consequences.
Oklahoma City store joins Apple Store organizing movement
Bloomberg reports on the latest developments:
Employees of Apple Inc. in Oklahoma City filed a petition Thursday to unionize their store, continuing a wave of unionization within the company and across the retail sector.
Employees have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) asking for a vote on joining the Communications Workers of America union […]
“It really is a great time to bring back the labor movement,” said Oklahoma City employee Michael Forsythe, one of the campaign leaders there. About 70% of eligible workers at the store have signed up for the union, according to the CWA, which represents a range of industries including technology, airlines and media.
The NLRB will verify that at least 30% of eligible workers have registered in order to proceed to the next stage. This will be a formal election in which the majority of staff must vote in favour.
As with other stores, it is likely that Apple will oppose this decision. He has previously been accused of bullying and failing to live up to his own values in the way he responds.
Union organizers say they know what opposition they expect from Apple and are prepared for it.
Oklahoma City workers said they were inspired by the Atlanta campaign and consulted with employees behind it to learn what to expect from the company and how to resist it.
Issues unions may seek to resolve with Apple
Unions consult with their members to decide which issues to prioritize in their negotiations with an employer. We recently learned of an investigation by union organizers at the Maryland Store. 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 salaries/salary bands
- Bonus for special skills (for example, non-English speaking employees)
- Reduce the time it takes to reach the maximum pay rate
- Add a cost of living adjustment
- Add a pension plan (see attached)
- Add profit sharing
- Improving the 401(k) savings plan
- Improve medical coverage
- Improve dental coverage
- Improve visual coverage
- Improve mental health coverage
- Improving Pet Insurance Coverage
- Improve accident and illness cover
- Improve life insurance coverage
- Control of medical costs
- Overtime procedures
- Increase paid vacation
- No more holidays
- Improving sick leave
- Improve paid leave approval policies/procedures
- Improve bereavement benefits and/or policies
- Implement seniority language (i.e. layoff, recall rights, transfers, promotions and shift preferences)
- Improving job security
- Respect shown to employees by management
- Improve communication from management to employees
- Occupational safety and/or security
- Employee health and well-being (i.e. ergonomics, workplace air quality)
- Increase input to work design and/or production numbers (to achieve a sustainable workload)
- Improve management 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 the four-day work week
- Set up one work-from-home day per pay week
- Improving “point in/out” policies
- Increase staff
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