Apple union push faces setback as Atlanta organizers retract bids

Shoppers walk past the Apple Store at Franklin Park Mall during Black Friday. Shoppers head to stores to take advantage of Black Friday sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephen Zenner | SOPA images | LightRocket | beautiful pictures

A union vote at a Apple The store at the Cumberland Mall location in Atlanta is in question after the union tried to organize retail workers to withdraw their election request.

The union, Communications Workers of America, alleged in a statement that Apple violated labor laws and made a fair election impossible. Additionally, the CWA says that the number of Covid cases at the store is increasing, which could prevent workers from voting safely.

The vote is previously scheduled for next week and if successful, it will be the first unified US Apple store.

This development is a setback for Apple workers’ efforts to unite at the company’s retail stores in the U.S. In addition to the Cumberland Mall location, there are at least three other Apple stores staffed by workers. Union. A store in Maryland is plan to vote on whether to unionize on June 15.

“The majority of workers at the Cumberland Mall Store announced that they were forming a union in April and demanded recognition. Since then Apple has waged a sophisticated, systematic campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form unions,” a representative of TTK said in a statement. “This conduct violates US law, the principles of Apple’s platform and supplier code of conduct, and international human rights standards.”

“We will not advance to the election because of what Apple’s response is and the coercive environment it creates,” organizers Cumberland Mall said in a message to colleagues at the store.

“It is infuriating and shameful that Apple has chosen to spend tens of thousands of dollars paying a third party, outside the ‘union avoidance’ law firm, to abandon its claimed values ​​and go bankrupt. unions aggressively and fraudulently in our store, interfering with our legal right to organize a union,” the message continued.

It said the Atlanta store organizers would “reset” and would work with other stores to prepare them for future union trips.

Workers at the Atlanta store applied to join the union in April, when organizers said more than 70 percent of store employees signed cards signaling interest in working with the CWA.

Since then, Apple has faced accusations that it is deploying tactics against unions that violate labor laws. TTK said in an unfair labor practice filing earlier this month said managers at the store held “contained subject meetings” where workers were asked to attend meetings that included discussions against the company’s union.

Earlier this week, Apple’s head of retail and human resources said in part of a video circulated internally that she believes unions will make it difficult for Apple executives to respond to concerns. of employees and unions do not. commitment to its employees.

Cumberland Mall organizers are demanding more transparency about how they are paid, a commitment to diversity in management and increased Covid safety measures for employees.

An Apple representative did not respond to a request for comment. The company has said in the past that it offers strong compensation and benefits to full-time and part-time employees.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that it is increasing the starting salary for retail employees up to $22 per hour. In a message to colleagues, Cumberland Mall organizers said that the unplanned salary increase was a direct result of its organizational dynamics.

“Thanks to what we’ve started in Atlanta, Apple will be giving an unplanned pay raise for all employees in all of its stores. This is on us,” organizers said in their note.

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