Apple illegally interfered with union organizing effort in Atlanta, national labor board finds

FILE – An Apple logo adorns the facade of the downtown Brooklyn Apple store on March 14, 2020, in New York. Apple will face off with the company behind the popular Fortnite video game in federal appeals court Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, reviving a high-stakes antitrust battle over whether the digital fortress shielding the iPhone’s app store illegally enriches the world’s most valuable company while stifling competition. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Apple illegally interfered with union organizing efforts at an Atlanta store by holding mandatory meetings to discourage union membership, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found.

The NLRB also found merit behind allegations that the Apple store at Cumberland Mall in Atlanta interrogated workers about union support and activities, solicited grievances, and told workers that union membership would result in less favorable terms of employment.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), a national communications and media union, initially filed a complaint against Apple Cumberland Mall in May. The CWA previously petitioned for a union election at the store but withdrew its request as a result of “Apple’s repeated violations.”

“Apple executives think the rules don’t apply to them,” Tom Smith, the CWA’s organizing director, said in a statement. “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 exactly what they are: a direct violation of labor rights.” 

Captive audience meetings have previously not been viewed by the NLRB as violating national labor laws.

However, Jennifer Abruzzo, the NLRB’s general counsel, issued a memo in April urging the board to find that “mandatory meetings in which employees are forced to listen to employer speech concerning the exercise of their statutory labor rights” violate the National Labor Relations Act.

Tags Apple Communications Workers of America Georgia Jennifer Abruzzo labor unions National Labor Relations Board Tom Smith unionization
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