Shoppers walk past an 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 | Light flare | Getty Images
A union vote at an Apple store in Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall is in doubt 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 at the store, which could affect voting due to worker health concerns.
The vote was scheduled for next week. 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 union vote for workers at a Maryland store is scheduled for June 15.
“An overwhelming majority of workers at the Cumberland Mall Store announced they were forming a union in April and demanded company recognition,” a CWA representative said in a statement. “Since then, Apple has waged a systematic and sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union,” a “behaviour [that] 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 an outrage and a disgrace that Apple has chosen to spend tens of thousands of dollars to pay a third party, outside of a law firm specializing in union avoidance, to abandon its professed values and aggressively and deceptively dismantling the union in our store, interfering with our laws. 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 being represented by 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 that store managers held “captive audience meetings,” where workers are required to attend meetings that include points anti-union discussions of the company.
Earlier this week, Apple’s head of retail and human resources said in an internally released video that she believes unions will make it harder for Apple executives to address employee concerns. and that unions are not committed to their employees.
Cumberland Mall organizers are calling for more transparency on how workers are paid, a commitment to diversity in management and increased Covid safety measures for employees.
“We are blessed with amazing members of the retail team and deeply appreciate all they bring to Apple,” an Apple representative said in response to a question about voting. Atlanta, saying the company offers solid compensation and benefits.
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.