On the eve of Labor Day weekend, a majority of Apple retail workers at the Apple Penn Square store in Oklahoma City filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to join CWA. Their union, OKC Apple Retail Union/CWA, includes Apple salespeople, genius admins, technicians, creatives, and operations specialists. Earlier this year, workers in Atlanta became the first Apple retail store to seek formal union recognition. Since their announcement, the multi-trillion dollar company has responded by launching a national anti-union campaign to prevent its employees from exercising their rights to stand together such as circulating anti-union talking points, as well as hiring a notorious union-busting law firm. CWA has filed several Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB in response to Apple’s national campaign designed to intimidate retail workers and prevent them from choosing to join the union. The workers are determined to follow the precedent set by workers in Maryland, who became the first certified Apple union in the United States this past June.
Defenders Union of Colorado
The Defenders Union of Colorado launched last week as part of CWA Local 7799 to represent workers at the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. The workers – including attorneys, paralegals, investigators, social workers, and administrative staff – describe a broken system where crushing workloads, insufficient pay, and soaring attrition undermine their ability to effectively represent and serve their clients. The workers are frustrated that these problems continue to go unaddressed by management, while once-committed workers quit every day. Even though Colorado law doesn't offer judicial employees a legal avenue to collectively bargain, the workers are determined to build enough political momentum to pressure the state legislature to pass a law rolling back that prohibition and codifying the right to organize. Read more here.
Workers at Mobi, Hawai'i's largest regional wireless company, have formed a union with CWA after the company voluntarily recognized the union, a monumental step forward for an industry overrun with union-busting and retaliation. The Mobi workers union is wall-to-wall, representing all 36 frontline and digital workers at the for-profit telecommunications company, including its retail store workers on O’ahu, customer service representatives, and tech workers. Mobi's decision to voluntarily recognize its workers’ union is rare and contrasts with major tech companies’ rampant union-busting across the industry. In conjunction with the union win, Mobi CEO Justen Burdette joined CWA President Chris Shelton to speak to the importance of labor standards in the telecom industry at CWA’s annual District 9 Leadership Conference in Honolulu.
United Campus Workers Colorado-CWA
Members of United Campus Workers Colorado (CWA Local 7799) and organizers held an organizing blitz last week. Over almost four days, they conducted an important organizing drive at four campuses including UC Boulder, UC Denver, UC Colorado Springs, and UC Anschutz. The goal of the organizing drive included increasing membership and political action fund contributions, collecting data and assessments, building momentum at the start of the semester, and spreading awareness about the union and the various campaigns in which members are engaged. Sixteen members participated in the blitz, along with 21 staff members. They also received solidarity and support from other union organizers, including a group of NewsGuild-CWA staff, members from TNG-CWA Local 37074, and Ski Patrollers from CWA Local 7781.
Business and tech workers at The Atlantic won formal recognition of their union, after a card count confirmed supermajority support. The workers announced their intent to form a union back in July with the New York NewsGuild (TNG-CWA Local 31003), joining their editorial colleagues at The Atlantic, who formed a union nearly a year earlier in June 2021. The 100-person unit covers data scientists, analysts, software engineers, product managers, project managers, assistants, designers, and the in-house creative studio. Workers in the union are calling for more equity and diversity in the workplace, fair compensation, and meaningful professional development and growth opportunities for employees, particularly junior staff. Their win is the latest sign of growing support for unions among both tech and administrative workers in the media industry.