Apple’s efforts to prevent employees from unionizing broke the law


Apple moves to head off employee union efforts
Apple’s anti-union efforts have again been ruled illegal.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled Tuesday that Apple used illegal means to convince employees at one of its retail stores in New York not to form a union.

The judge issued several instructions to Apple that might assist in future unionizing efforts at the company’s 270-plus U.S. retail locations.

Apple goes union busting

In 2022, employees at multiple Apple stores started efforts to unionize. The company moved quickly to head them off. Apple retained San Francisco-based Littler Mendelson, a law firm that helps companies — including Starbucks — with anti-union efforts.

The Communications Workers of America complained to the National Labor Relations Board about some of the tactics used. And on Tuesday, an NLRB judge ruled that Apple had “coercively interrogated” its employees about their unionizing efforts at the World Trade Center store, according to Bloomberg. Plus, Apple removed pro-union fliers from its break rooms. The judge ordered Apple to “cease and desist” doing both.

This is the second NLRB judge to rule that Apple’s union-busting efforts violated the law. A similar ruling was handed down in December 2022.

The rulings are somewhat moot, though, as Apple already convinced employees at the World Trade Center location and an Apple store in Atlanta to drop their unionizing efforts. But that doesn’t mean employees at other retail locations won’t take up the fight.

Apple’s union stance is hypocritical

The Apple Supplier Responsibility Standards offers a very different take on unions. The document requires the companies that supply components for Apple products to allow unions.

The standards state, “Supplier shall respect Workers’ lawful rights to form or participate (or refrain from forming or participating) in organizations of their choosing, including but not limited to unions, Worker committees, or other Worker associations, and bargain collectively without interference, discrimination, retaliation, or harassment.”


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