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Oklahoma City Apple Store votes to unionize

October 17, 2022

When Apple’s Penn Square Mall retail store in Oklahoma City voted on Friday to unionize, it became the tech giant’s second location in the United States to do so.

Is this a trend for other Oklahoma employers? Count on it.

Union organizing efforts are heating up nationally, and Oklahoma is no exception. To date, filings against employers for union representation are up nearly 60% over the last fiscal year, and this wave of union organizing shows no signs of slowing. A number of factors are fueling this trend:

  • The pro-labor stance of the Biden administration;
  • The National Labor Relations Board’s adoption of rules that assist union organizing; and
  • A tight job market that strengthens workers’ leverage in employee/employer relationships.

This year, national retail employers like Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple have found themselves in unions’ crosshairs. The first Apple retail store to unionize was located in Towson, Maryland, and more are likely to follow.

A group calling itself the Penn Square Labor Alliance spearheaded the Oklahoma City union campaign. Of the Penn Square Mall Apple store’s approximately 100 eligible voters, 88 cast ballots. In a vote of 56 to 32, a majority of employees chose the Communication Workers of America to represent the stores’ workers. If no objections to the election are filed by Apple, Apple and the CWA will begin negotiating with the employer over a union contract covering the Penn Square Mall store’s workforce.

This isn’t an isolated incident. The same factors that made the CWA attractive to Oklahoma City Apple Store employees and the laws that increasingly make organizing efforts easier for unions mean that all employers should be vigilant when it comes to unionizing attempts.

Photo by Karla Neese © 2022. Used with permission.