The Communication Workers of America (CWA) union has accused Apple of crushing the will to organize by disciplining and firing staff illegally. While Apple has signed union agreements for some of its stores, it has been accused of taking steps to discourage retail staff from unionizing.
The CWA has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), claiming that Apple retaliated against five Kansas City staff members who were trying to organize a union.
Apple’s anti-union tactics under scrutiny by National Labor Relations Board
Apple reportedly used tardiness and improperly filling out attendance forms as the reason for the firings. One of the fired employees, Gemma Wyatt, said she was put on disciplinary notice for being late for her shift by about one minute, three times in a month.
As reported by The Washington Post, Kansas City staff have been attempting to organize a union for about a year. During that time, Apple began holding optional meetings about unionization, which eventually became mandatory.
Sergio Hernandez Jr., another fired employee, said he became an activist when he saw that some store workers got paid a premium for speaking Spanish, while others did not. The CWA claims that at the Memorial City Store in Houston, staff was interrogated about their support for unions. They were allegedly promised improvements to their working conditions if they didn’t support the union, and one worker was disciplined after saying they did support unionization.
Apple’s alleged position in the mandatory anti-union meetings echoes Deirdre O’Brien’s comments, which are that unions get between Apple and its staff. However, some staff members have claimed that unions are necessary because Apple distances itself from its staff and their concerns. One Apple Store employee said that saying anything to management or complaining about anything is “like writing a letter to Santa.”
The CWA claims that Apple’s actions have successfully crushed the will to organize at its stores, making it difficult for employees to have a say in their working conditions without risking their livelihoods. Apple has not commented on the CWA’s latest filing with the NLRB.