A union organization representing Apple’s Easton Town Center store in Columbus, Ohio, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) has filed a complaint against the tech giant at the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing it of creating a pseudo-union to stop unionization efforts.
The Cupertino tech giant has been facing a wave of unionization in the United States, the UK, and Australia. The retail location at Towson, Maryland became the first unionized store in the U.S. followed by a store in Oklahoma City.
And to counter the unionization efforts, Apple has been using a carrot-and-stick tactic. On one hand, the company introduced benefits like more flexible work schedules, increased hour pay to $22 minimum, vacation benefits, and health and education perks. And on the other hand, it shared talking points with store managers, hosted one-on-one meetings, and withheld those benefits from unionized stores on the pretext that they would have to negotiate their own benefits.
Apple unlawfully created an employer-dominated labor organization, accuses the CWA
According to Bloomberg’s report, the CWA filing details that Apple unlawfully solicited employees to join an employer-created / employer-dominated labor organization as “a means of stifling union activities” at the Ohio location. The tech giant is also accused of holding anti-union meetings.
In Columbus, Apple circulated fliers to workers promoting what it called “a dedicated working group that can be used as a formal means for employees and leaders to provide feedback on both local and retail organization-wide initiatives, policies and practices,” according to the union. That organization would have 10 members, with roles like co-chair or secretary, the union said.
Companies are prohibited to create pseudo-union organizations which are controlled by the management under Federal labor law. CWA’s secretary-treasurer, Sara Steffens, said:
“Creating a work group controlled by management is undemocratic and a clear attempt at union-busting. If management actually cared about workers having a voice on the job, they would direct them to Apple Retail Union/CWA which is run by workers, not bosses.”
Recently, the NLRB found the tech giant’s anti-union captive meetings were “coercive and illegal” in Atlanta and its regional director said that a complaint would be filed if the company did not settle.
However, the staff at St. Louis Apple Store in Missouri filed a petition at the NLRB in defense of the company against a labor union organization, the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM). The filing accused the IAM of being dishonest about employees’ willingness to unionize.