Apple has been accused of union breakdown at its flagship World Trade Center store in New York City. According to a complaint filed by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the iPhone maker has violated federal labor laws by questioning employees about union activities, prohibiting employees from posting union flyers in shared spaces and forcing employees to attend anti-union presentations.
It’s the second time the CWA has accused Apple of union-breaking activities this week, with similar complaints filed Tuesday in Atlanta. These complaints are part of a wave of trade union organizations in the retail and tech sectors, including the successful unionization of an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island. Three Apple stores officially have launched union actions so far, although Apple currently has no retail associations in the US.
Details of the labor suit against Apple in New York City, as reported by: Bloomberg and Engadget, including allegations that Apple is holding “captive public” meetings — mandatory meetings with anti-union messages. In the past, such meetings were allowed up to 24 hours before a union vote, but the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently changed position on the matter, saying that meetings with the public in captivity are coercive and a violation of federal labor law.
Regarding the filing with the World Trade Center store, Tim Dubnau, the CWA’s deputy organizing director, said in a press statement: “Apple retail workers across the country are demanding a voice at work and a seat at the table. Unfortunately, and contrary to its stated values, Apple has responded like a typical American company with heavy-handed tactics designed to intimidate employees and The best thing Apple can do is let employees choose whether or not they want to join a union.”
While Apple has not taken a public stance on unionization in its stores, it has distributed anti-union discussions to executives (according to a report by vice) and has hired lawyers from Littler Mendelson (a firm known for its anti-union lawsuits that previously defended McDonalds against alleged violations of labor law and currently represents Starbucks in its own fight against unions).