Apple faces US labor complaint over union busting

The iPhone maker allegedly broke laws trying to stifle union organizers.

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Jon Fingas
October 5, 2022 12:08 PM
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: Sales people advise customers as they look at Apple Watches at the World Trade Center Apple Store on April 17, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Apple's alleged union busting has prompted federal action. As The New York Times reports, the National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint against Apple following accusations it broke multiple laws trying to thwart union organizers at the World Trade Center store in New York City. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union claims Apple surveilled and questioned staff, limited access to pro-union fliers and made employees listen to anti-union speeches.

The NLRB found enough merit in two of the claims. A judge will hold a hearing on December 13th if there's no settlement.

We've asked Apple for comment. In a statement to The Times, a spokesperson said the iPhone maker disputed CWA's allegations and was anticipating "presenting the facts." In the past, Apple has maintained that unionization would hinder labor improvements and prevent "direct engagement" between the company and store workers. Apple told staff it would increase pay, but also that unionization could lead to fewer promotions and fixed hours.

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There's no certainty the NLRB complaint will lead to change in Apple's labor practices. However, it comes as teams at multiple US stores have made unionization bids. While people at an Atlanta location gave up their efforts, Towson, Maryland workers voted to unionize this spring. Oklahoma City employees vote next week. There's mounting pressure on Apple to act, if just to minimize similar complaints.

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Apple faces US labor complaint over union busting