Atlanta Apple Store staff withdraw demand for union vote: report

  • The labor group seeking to represent workers at Apple stores in Atlanta has withdrawn its demand for a union vote, citing acts of intimidation, according to reports.
  • The vote, which was due to take place on June 2, could have ushered in the first unionized Apple store in the United States.
  • The decision comes days after an audio leak showed a senior Apple executive expressing concern over the unionization of retail staff at the company.

Workers at an Apple store in Atlanta withdrew their demand for a union vote just days before it was to take place, citing allegations of intimidation by the tech giant, according to reports.

Retail workers at Apple’s Cumberland Mall store were scheduled to vote June 2 on whether or not they wanted to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union. Now they are dropping the union bid, alongside CWA claims that “Apple’s repeated violations of state labor relations law have made a free and fair election impossible,” Bloomberg reported.

“An overwhelming majority of workers at the Cumberland Mall Store announced they were forming a union in April and demanded company recognition,” a CWA representative said in a statement, according to CNBC. “Since then, Apple has waged a systematic and sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union.”

In April, workers at the store became the first in the company to apply for a union election, with more than 70% of unit-eligible workers signing union cards. If successful, the vote would have ushered in the first unionized Apple store in the United States.

Since then, there have been news reports of allegations of union-busting tactics by Apple.

Just days ago, leaked audio recordings showed Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and employees, expressing concern over the unionization of the 58,000 retail workers. from Apple.

“I worry about what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship, one that doesn’t have a deep understanding of Apple or our business, and most importantly, one that I don’t believe shares our commitment to you,” O’Brien said, according to Vice, which released part of the recording.

Earlier in May, Vice also reported that Apple sent a script of union-busting talking points to store managers.

Besides Atlanta, Apple stores in Maryland and Kentucky, as well as the company’s flagship location in New York, have started the process of unionization.

The tech giant raised base pay for retail workers from $20 to $22 an hour as part of store push for unionization, according to a memo seen by The Wall Street Journal and CNBC. This increase also comes against the backdrop of a boiling labor market and rising inflation.

Representatives for CWA and Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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