Apple has been known to treat unions with some degree of distrust, but now it looks like it could be actively singling out unionized staff and disciplining them unfairly. In a new report from the New York Times, there is evidence and testimony from some unionized staff who've been fired and, in their eyes, treated differently from other employees.
This could put Apple in hot water – although, as yet, nothing has happened beyond the affected talking about their experiences.
Maryland was the first store to unionize in the United States in June last year.
Firing union staff
The New York Times focuses first on the story of Gemma Wyatt of the Kansas City Apple store, who was fired after becoming unionized, being disciplined for being "a minute late three times in a month", and then finally missing a meeting because she was sick and "didn't give managers enough notice."
Wyatt has spoken out, saying "It took us time to realize they weren’t firing us just because of time and attendance," and has since become a part of a "charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board in March accusing Apple of unfair labor practices."
Apple isn't alone in treating unionized staff differently. Other outlets, like Starbucks and Trader Joe's, are also being put under some scrutiny as their staff unionizes. Apple has, of course, responded to the accusations, saying that it "had not disciplined or fired any workers in retaliation for union activity," going on to say “We strongly deny these claims and look forward to providing the full set of facts to the N.L.R.B.”
Apple apparently was fairly unbothered by unions – until they started to make more progress around the staff, and more people started to join. Since then, Apple has held meetings to "discuss the risks of Unionization," in some effort to deter staff from banding together. Since then, it looks like there may have been more direct action.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.