Apple Charged for Breaking Federal Law in Preventing Unionization

According to a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Apple deployed illegal means to suppress unionization in Atlanta this year, Bloomberg is reporting (via MacWorld).

Apple store

The NLRB said that Apple violated federal law by “interrogating and coercing” employees, discriminating against union supporters, and holding mandatory anti-union meetings.

While the labor board has no power to impose punitive damages, its actions may lead to a federal case if Apple declines its remedies.

A number of Apple retail stores in the U.S. have attempted to unionize this year, with mixed results. But the most well-known case involves the store in Cumberland, Atlanta, where the Communications Workers of America (CWA) withdrew a unionization attempt in May, days before the vote was due to be held.

The union accused Apple of “a systematic, sophisticated campaign to intimidate [workers] and interfere with their right to form a union.”

“Apple executives think the rules don’t apply to them,” the CWA said in response to the NLRB ruling. “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.”

Earlier this year, Apple changed its compensation for retail workers, doubling sick days from six to 12, increasing vacation days for full- and part-time employees, and adding paid parental leave and discounted emergency childcare benefits.