A union vote at an Apple shop in Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall location is in doubt, according to reports, after the union attempting to organize the retail workers withdrew its proposal for an election on June 2. In a statement, the Communications Workers of America said that Apple had broken labor regulations and rendered a fair election impossible. According to CNBC, the CWA also stated that the number of COVID cases at the store is increasing, which could influence the decision due to worker health concerns.
The vote was set for the next week. It would have been the first unionized Apple store in the United States if it had been successful.
The news is a setback for Apple employees seeking to form a union at the company’s retail locations in the United States. There are at least three more Apple stores with workers holding public union drives, in addition to the one at Cumberland Mall. On June 15, workers at a Maryland store will vote on whether or not to become a union.
In a statement, a CWA official said: “In April, the workers at the Cumberland Mall Store expressed their intention to organize a union and requested that the employer recognize them. Since then, Apple has engaged in a systematic, sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and obstruct their right to organize a union, which is illegal under US law, contradicts Apple’s credo and vendor code of conduct, and breaches international human rights norms.”
“We are not moving forward with the election given Apple’s response and the coercive climate they created,” the Cumberland Mall Organizing Committee said in a message to store employees.
“It’s an outrage and a shame that Apple chose to pay a third party, outside ‘union avoidance’ law firm tens of thousands of dollars, violate its professed ideals, and aggressively and deceitfully union bust in our store, interfering with our legal right to organize a union,” the post read.
In a video issued internally earlier this week, Apple’s head of retail and human resources stated that she believes unions would make it more difficult for Apple management to respond to employee complaints and that unions are not devoted to Apple’s employees.
Apple stated earlier this week that beginning compensation for retail employees would be increased to $22 per hour. The Cumberland Mall organizing group stated in a statement to coworkers that the unforeseen raises were a direct result of its organizing drive. Read the full CNBC report for additional information.