Atlanta Apple Store employees drop bid for union vote

Atlanta Apple Store employees drop bid for union vote

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As the fight to unionize within Apple Stores was heating up, one group is dropping its bid. Atlanta Apple Store employees are withdrawing their request for a union election, according to Bloomberg.

Just last week, the Atlanta Apple Store employees accused Apple of union busting as it repeatedly held captive audience meetings with anti-union messaging to employees. In an emailed statement, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said it took the step “because Apple’s repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act have made a free and fair election impossible.”

The CWA also mentioned concerns of rising Covid-19 cases among staff, which could affect the safety of in-person voting.

Apple has conducted a systematic, sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union, the CWA said.

Due to National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules, the group will have to wait at least six months before petitioning again. No word on if the Atlanta Apple Store staff will pick up where they left off then. The employees were poised to vote at the beginning of June, which would’ve been the NLRB’s first election at an Apple Store.

Apple is happy about this decision

Apple seems to be grateful to have one less store to worry about right now. The company commented on this action, stating it is “fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple.”

We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits, Apple continued.

The Atlanta Apple Store was among others unionizing

Atlanta’s Apple Store was the second retail location to begin the unionization process last month. While New York City was the first, Maryland and Kentucky are following suit.

Apple has already shown its opposition to unionizing as it’s been working with anti-union legal team Littler Mendelson. This is the same firm that represents Starbucks, who also helped McDonald’s back in 2014 when workers were asking for $15/hr wages. Additionally, just yesterday the company announced raises for retail staff in response to rising inflation. Starting pay is now $22/hr with potentially higher wages in certain markets.

The company has also been using retail chief Deirdre O’Brien to discourage staff from unionizing. Vice obtained leaked audio from a video sent to Apple Store staff, where O’Brien explained her worries about retail staff joining a union.

9to5Mac’s Take

Overall, I don’t think things will get better for Apple. With more and more stores starting to unionize or considering unionizing, Apple’s worries will continue to grow. Just because the Atlanta Apple Store dropped its bid for now doesn’t mean it won’t try again later. However, it seems Apple will do anything within its power to stop the fight.

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