Apple allegedly created bogus labor group to frustrate unionization, Communications Workers of America complaint claims

Apple is accused of creating its own labor organization to keep workers out of the former employer-led union, according to a complaint. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board, accusing Apple of unfair labor practices. The complaint alleges that Apple created an employer-controlled task force, called “Employers’ Forum,” at the Apple store in Easton Town Center Columbus, Ohio, to support union activity.

The Apple-run group is written up in a pamphlet, according to the CWA, as a specialist working group that can be used as a formal way for employees and leaders to provide feedback on initiatives, policies and practices both local and retail organization scale. The CWA says Apple throughout the year opposed workers’ efforts to organize for better wages and working conditions and chose to form a company-controlled union to encourage workers not to organize independently rather than to negotiate.

Recent efforts by Apple employees to organize began in 2021 with the launch of the #AppleToo movement and the ensuing AppleTogether group. As of February 2022, according to The Washington Post, there were at least two Apple Store locations preparing to unionize and six more considering doing so. With the AppleToo website, the goal was to reduce testimonials from workers at all levels of the organization who have experienced harassment or discrimination. We can read there:

For too long, Apple has evaded public scrutiny. The truth is that for many Apple employees — a reality that disproportionately clashes with our black, Indigenous, and other ethnic, gender, and historically marginalized colleagues — the culture of secrecy creates an opaque and intimidating fortress. When we insist on accountability and redress for the persistent injustices we witness or experience in our workplace, we face a pattern of isolation and degradation.

The Information published a report in 2020 stating that testimony from former Apple employees and internal company presentations and data showed that Apple failed to hold its industry partners to account in China after the government China has passed a new law limiting the use of temporary workers in factories. Apple was well aware that from 2014 its suppliers were violating Chinese labor laws, but did nothing because it didn’t want to put a brake on its product launches or increase costs.

The jobs, as well as internal company presentations, suggested the tech company was doing little to prevent its suppliers from violating labor laws. They said Apple feared the rule would increase costs, delay the launch of its new devices and drain its resources. Three of the alumni worked on Apple’s procurement accountability team, which monitors violations and enforces penalties. The fourth ex-employee was a senior executive familiar with its operations in China, according to the report.

In April this year, workers at Apple’s flagship store, Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan, began removing signatures to form a union, according to a newly updated website launched by organizers, setting the stage for a showdown between the iPhone maker and employs them who sell them.

The organizers, who nicknamed themselves Fruit Stand Workers United, say you voted on February 21 to join united workers, a national union that has supported efforts to organize Russian Starbucks employees across the country, according to the site. People involved in the organizing effort said they endured months of effort from Apple to convince Jobs that unionizing was a bad idea, accusing the company of *union-busting tactics *. Now, his distributor of signature cards to potential union members.

If Fruit Stand Workers United organizers muster enough votes for the former union, the Grand Central site would become the first Apple store to do so. It would add the Cupertino, Calif. company, a growing list of behemoths including Amazon, Starbucks and Activision-Blizzard, confronts a wave of organizing efforts in a labor landscape that has essentially changed in the aftermath of the global pandemic. At least three other Apple outlets are in the process of forming a union, according to Jobs who spoke on condition of anonymity to keep their jobs.

Earlier in August this year, more than a dozen Jobs claimed that the HR team puts the company’s reputation before the well-being of workers, decrying cases of sexual assault.

Megan Mohr was five years old at Apple when, in 2013, a male colleague took advantage of her after a platonic night spent drinking together. After the co-worker drives her home and helps her in, she briefly falls asleep before waking up. The colleague had taken off her shirt and her bra. He used photos and smiled. This story is based on interviews and discussions with employees, internal emails from Apple’s human resources team, four severance contracts drafted by Apple attorneys, and anonymous employee comments.

The women who spoke out represent just a tiny fraction of Apple’s 165,000 employees worldwide. And the company has shown its determination to empower working women in a Silicon Valley long critical to its bro culture. Its annual Inclusion and Diversity Report indicates that the company has embedded a culture where everyone belongs, and reports an 87% increase in the number of employees in leadership positions globally between 2014 and 2021.

Mohr had already had a bad experience with human resources. Known internally as Apple’s People Group, when another colleague broke into his accounts and harassed him, leading him to file a complaint with the police. HR didn’t cost her or help her, she said, so this time she didn’t bother to do so. I was afraid of reprisals and I knew that HR would not have had my best interest in mind, she said.

The Communications Workers of America complaint also states that Apple held a mandatory meeting with a captive audience in which its representative stated that[Apple] would refuse to bargain on certain issues if a union were formed. During that meeting, the complaint says, an Apple store manager claimed that workers could not negotiate on operational issues and threatened to deprive employees of the opportunity to have personal conversations with their manager.

In an mmo published in April, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRB), Jennifer Abruzzo, asked the NLRB to consider mandatory meetings during contained employees are compelled to listen to the employer’s speech regarding the exercise of their statutory labor rights, including meetings in captive court, constituting a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

Employees at the Apple Store in Cumberland Mall, Atlanta, filed a union election demand in April, but later withdrew the demand and alleged that Apple engaged in illegal union busting. Ten days ago, the NLRB found it likely that Apple had violated the law regarding Atlanta’s organizing effort, which put pressure on Apple to accept a settlement.

St Louis, Mo., employees at an Apple Store withdrew their demand for a union vote, due to hostility from Apple management. The workers then asked the NLRB to reject the organizing effort of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, on the grounds that it would offer no substantial benefit.

Source: Communications Workers of America Complaint

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See as well :

Employees at Apple Stores in Grand Central Terminal receive signatures for the old union. If successful, it will be a first for an Apple Store in the USA

Apple: More than a dozen jobs say HR team puts company’s reputation ahead of worker well-being, decrying sexual assault cases

Apple employees launch AppleToo, a website to relieve reports of workplace discrimination and harassment

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