Apple union push faces setback as Atlanta organizers withdraw bid – Reuters

A union vote at an Apple store in Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall is in question after the union that was trying to organize retail workers withdrew its election demand.

The union, Communications Workers of America, alleged in a statement that Apple violated labor laws and made a fair election impossible. Additionally, CWA said there was a growing number of Covid cases in the store, which could make it difficult for workers to vote safely.

The vote was previously scheduled for next week and if successful, it would have been the first unionized US Apple Store.

The development is a setback for efforts by Apple workers to unionize at the company’s retail stores in the United States. In addition to the Cumberland Mall location, there are at least three other Apple stores with workers staging public union campaigns. A Maryland store must vote to unionize on June 15.

“An overwhelming majority of workers at the Cumberland Mall Store announced they were forming a union in April and demanded company recognition. Since then, Apple has waged a systematic and sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union. “, a CWA representative said in a statement. “This behavior violates U.S. law, the principles of Apple’s Creed and Supplier Code of Conduct, and international human rights standards.”

“We are not moving forward with the election given Apple’s response and the coercive environment they have created,” the Cumberland Mall Organizing Committee said in a message to colleagues. of the shop.

“It is outrageous and disgraceful that Apple has chosen to spend tens of thousands of dollars to pay a third party, outside of a ‘union avoidance’ law firm, abandon its professed values ​​and aggressively blow up and deceptively unionizing our store, interfering with our legal right to organize a union,” the message continued.

He said Atlanta store organizers would “reset” and work with other stores to prepare them for future labor campaigns.

Workers at the Atlanta store filed for unionization in April, when organizers said more than 70% of store workers had signed cards indicating their interest in unionizing with CWA.

Since then, Apple has been accused of deploying union busting tactics that violate labor laws. The CWA said in an unfair labor practices filing earlier this month, which said store managers were holding “captive audience meetings,” where workers are required to attend meetings that include company anti-union talking points.

Earlier this week, Apple’s head of retail and human resources said in part of an internally distributed video that she believes unions will make it harder for Apple executives to address concerns. of employees and that unions are not committed to their employees.

Cumberland Mall organizers are calling for more transparency on 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 previously said it offers solid compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees.

Earlier this week, Apple announced it was raising the starting wage for retail employees to $22 an hour. In the message to colleagues, the Cumberland Shopping Center organizing committee said the unplanned increases were a direct result of its recruitment drive.

“Because of what we started here in Atlanta, Apple will give all employees at all stores an unplanned raise. It’s thanks to us,” the organizing committee said in its note.

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