Apple Workers in Oklahoma Vote to Unionize in 2nd Labor Win

NEW YORK (AP) -- Workers at an Apple store in Oklahoma City voted to unionize, marking the second unionized Apple store in the U.S. in a matter of months, according to the federal labor board.

The vote on Friday signaled another win for the labor movement, which has been gaining momentum since the pandemic.

Fifty-six workers at the store, located at Oklahoma City's Penn Square Mall, voted to be represented by The Communications Workers of America, while 32 voted against it, according to a preliminary tally by National Labor Relations Board. The approximate number of eligible voters was 95, the board said.

The labor board said Friday that both parties have five business days to file objections to the election. If no objections are filed, the results will be certified, and the employer must begin bargaining in good faith with the union.

The union victory follows a vote to unionize an Apple store in Towson, Maryland, in June. That effort was spearheaded by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Maryland, which is preparing to begin formal negotiations.

In a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Saturday, Apple said, "We believe the open, direct and collaborative relationship we have with our valued team members is the best way to provide an excellent experience for our customers, and for our teams."

Apple also cited "strong compensation and exceptional benefits," and noted that since 2018, it has increased starting rates in the U.S. by 45% and made significant improvements in other benefits, including new educational and family support programs.

The Communications Workers of America could not be immediately reached for comment.

Worker discontent has invigorated the labor movements at several major companies in the U.S. in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered tensions over sick leave policies, scheduling, and other issues.

In a surprise victory, Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted in favor of unionizing in April, though similar efforts at other warehouses so far have been unsuccessful. Voting for an Amazon facility near Albany, New York, began on Wednesday and is expected go through Monday. Well over 200 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize over the past year, according to the NLRB.