A majority of employees at the Apple Penn Square Store in Oklahoma City voted to unionize on the weekend and have joined the Communication Workers of America union. It has become the second Apple location to unionize; in June this year, the Apple Store in Towson, Maryland unionized and joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Unsatisfied with wages, workplace environment, and benefits, retail staff at multiple Apple locations in the United States began unionization efforts earlier this year. The grieved employees argue that their trillion-dollar company ignores the demands and well beings of its front-line workers. And believe that being part of a union, the employees will be able to negotiate better pay and benefits collectively.
Apple’s anti-union tactics fail as another location votes to unionize in the U.S.
A day before the employees at Penn Square Store were going to take a vote, Apple announced new education and health benefits for non-union staff. Under the new perks, corporate and retail employees are eligible for availing advance tuition, free membership for a program with Coursera Inc., and exemption from co-pay for approved doctors in select states.
The latest benefits are reportedly part of the company’s tactics to discourage unionization. Previously, the tech giant increased the minimum wage to $22 per hour, held “listening” sessions, made work schedules more flexible, and shared the impact of a union in finding “fewer opportunities, less flexibility” and compelling the company to pay “less attention to merit” and others.
However, it appears that the carrot-and-stick strategy is not working out for Apple. In response to the latest location’s decision, the tech giant reiterated that a union impacts its experience to offer to employees and customers. Mark Gurman shared the statement on Twitter which reads:
We believe the open, direct and collaborative relationships we have with our valued teams members is the best way to provide an excellent experience for our customers, and for our teams. We’re proud to provide our team members with strong compensation and exceptional benefits. Since 2018, we’ve increased our starting rated in the U.S by 45% and we’ve made many significant enhancements to our industry-leading benefits, include new educational DNA family support programs.
Ex-employee and AppleToo Movement organizer, Ashley M. Gjovik was quick to comment that Apple is now differentiating between its non-union and union workers while suggesting that a union will help protect employees from workplace harassment and negotiate better benefits.