Apple union push faces setback; Atlanta organizers withdraw vote

Shoppers pass by the Apple Store at Franklin Park Mall during Black Friday. Shoppers head to stores to take advantage of Black Friday deals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephen Zener | SOPA Images | Light Rocket | Getty Images

union vote apple Stores at Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall have been questioned after unions tried to organize retail workers to withdraw their election requests.

The Communications Workers of America said in a statement that Apple violated labor laws by making fair elections impossible. In addition, the CWA said there were increasing Covid cases in stores, which could affect voting due to worker health concerns.

vote yes Book next week. If successful, it will be the first unionized Apple Store in the United States.

The development is a setback for Apple workers’ efforts to unionize at the company’s U.S. retail stores. In addition to the Cumberland Mall location, workers at at least three other Apple stores hold public union events.Union votes for workers at a Maryland store Scheduled June 15th.

“The vast majority of workers at the Cumberland Mall store have announced that they will unionize in April and are demanding recognition from the company,” a CWA representative said in a statement. “Since then, Apple has carried out a systematic and sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to unionize,” a “behavior” [that] Violates U.S. law, Apple’s Creed and Supplier Code of Conduct, and international human rights standards. “

“Given Apple’s response and the coercive environment they created, we will not move forward with the election,” the Cumberland Mall organizing committee said in a message to store colleagues.

“Apple has chosen to spend tens of thousands of dollars to pay third parties outside of ‘union avoidance’ law firms, abandoning its professed values ​​and aggressively and deceptively undermining unions in our stores, interfering with our laws, This is outrage and shame. The right to unionize,” the message continued.

It said Atlanta store organizers will “reset” and will work with other stores to prepare for future union movements.

Workers at the Atlanta store applied for the union event in April, when organizers said more than 70 percent of store employees signed cards expressing interest in becoming CWA representatives.

Since then, Apple has faced allegations that it is deploying anti-union tactics that violate labor laws. CWA says In an unfair labor practice filing earlier this month, the store’s managers held “exclusive audience meetings” requiring employees to participate in sessions that included the company’s anti-union talking points.

Earlier this week, Apple’s head of retail and human resources said in an internally distributed video that she believed unions would make it harder for Apple managers to respond to employee concerns, and that unions would not. dedicated to its employees.

Organisers of the Cumberland Mall have demanded greater transparency in staff pay, pledged to manage diversity and increase Covid safety measures for staff.

“We’re fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we really value what they bring to Apple,” an Apple representative said in response to a question about the Atlanta vote, saying the company offered generous compensation and benefits .

Earlier this week, Apple announced an increase in starting salaries for retail employees $22 per hourIn a message to colleagues, the Cumberland Mall organizing committee said the unplanned pay rise was a direct result of its organizing activities.

“Thanks to the work we started in Atlanta, Apple will provide unplanned pay raises for all employees in all stores. It’s because of us,” the organizing committee said.