U.S. labor board prosecutors say that Apple violated federal law when it interrogated and coerced Apple retail workers in Atlanta. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) also concluded that Apple held mandatory anti-union meetings.
Apple Violates Federal Law By Interrogating And Coercing Atlanta Workers
Bloomberg reported that the NLRB’s Atlanta regional director concluded that Apple required its Atlanta retail store workers to attend anti-union meetings. During those meetings, store management allegedly made coercive statements. Kayla Baldo, NLRB’s press secretary, said that the board will file a complaint against Apple if it will not agree to a settlement.
As a refresher, Apple Store workers at Apple’s retail store in Cumberland Mall, Atlanta, petitioned to unionize earlier this year. The Communications Workers of America represented the Apple Store workers in filing the petition for unionization election. However, in May this year, the CWA later withdrew its petition due to alleged anti-union busting activities conducted by Apple.
A similar fate later happened with unionization efforts at the Galleria Apple Store in St. Louis. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) withdrew its petition to unionize one week after filing it. In this case, however, workers at the store denied IAM’s allegations that Apple used union-busting behavior. So far, the CWA has successfully facilitated the union election of Apple Store workers in Oklahoma City.
Apple Store Atlanta Workers Commend US Labor Prosecutors
In a statement sent to Bloomberg on Monday, the Atlanta Apple Store workers commended the NLRB for recognizing the underlying meaning of the captive audience meetings that Apple allegedly conducted.
Apple executives think the rules don’t apply to them. Holding an illegal forced captive audience meeting is not only union-busting but an example of psychological warfare. We commend the NLRB for recognizing captive audience meetings for what they are: a direct violation of labor rights.
Although the NLRB previously recognized that companies can require employees to attend anti-union meetings, its current general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo believes that “captive audience” meetings are coercive and illegal. Her office has been pursuing similar cases happening at other companies such as Amazon and Starbucks. The general counsel hopes to change the precedent.