The Apple union push faces a setback when Atlanta organizers withdraw the offer

Shoppers walk past an Apple Store at Franklin Park Mall on Black Friday. Shoppers head to stores to take advantage of Black Friday sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stefano Zenner | SOPA Images | Light rocket | Getty Images

A union vote in a Apple shop at the Cumberland Mall headquarters in Atlanta is in question after the union trying to organize retail workers withdrew its election request.

The union, Communications Workers of America, said in a statement that Apple violated labor laws and made a fair election impossible. Additionally, CWA said there are a growing number of Covid cases in the store, which could prevent workers from voting safely.

The vote what previously scheduled for next week and if successful, it would be the first syndicated US Apple store.

The development is a setback for Apple workers’ efforts to join unions in the company’s retail stores in the United States. In addition to the Cumberland Mall headquarters, there are at least three other Apple stores with workers holding public union initiatives. A store in Maryland is scheduled vote whether to join the union on June 15th.

“The overwhelming majority of Cumberland Mall Store workers announced they were forming a union in April and asked for the company to be recognized. Apple has since waged a systematic and sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union. . “, a CWA representative said in a statement. “This behavior violates US law, Apple’s belief principles, the Supplier Code of Conduct, and international human rights standards.”

“We are not moving forward with the election given Apple’s response and the coercive environment they have created,” the Cumberland Mall Organizing Committee said in a message to colleagues at the store.

“It is an outrage and a shame that Apple chose to spend tens of thousands of dollars to pay a third party, outside the ‘union avoidance’ law firm, to abandon its professed values ​​and aggressively and deceitfully failed union in. our shop, interfering with our legal right to organize a union, ”the message continues.

He said Atlanta store organizers will “restore” and work with other stores to prepare them for future union initiatives.

Atlanta store workers filed for a union initiative in April, when organizers said more than 70 percent of store employees signed papers signaling interest in joining CWA.

Since then, Apple has been accused of adopting anti-union tactics that violate labor laws. The CWA said in an unfair practice filed earlier this month claiming that store executives held “captive audience meetings,” in which workers are required to attend meetings that include anti-union corporate talking points.

Earlier this week, Apple’s chief of retail and human resources said in part of an internally distributed video that he believed unions would make it harder for Apple executives to address employee concerns and that unions they are not committed to its employees.

Cumberland Mall organizers are calling for greater transparency in how they are paid, a commitment to diversity in management and greater Covid security measures for employees.

An Apple representative did not respond to a request for comment. The company previously claimed to offer strong compensation and benefits for full-time and part-time employees.

Earlier this week, Apple announced it was raising the starting salary for retail employees at $ 22 per hour. In the message to colleagues, the Cumberland Mall organizing committee said the unplanned hikes were a direct result of its organizational drive.

“Thanks to what we started here in Atlanta, Apple will give all employees of all stores an unplanned raise. This is our credit,” the organizing committee said in its statement.