Apple's in hot water over illegal union worker interrogation

Apple cutout outside Apple Store
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has been told that it must stop coercively interrogating workers about their unionization plans following a complaint by workers at the company's World Trade Center Apple Store.

A National Labor Relations Board judge has told Apple that it violated the rights of its employees at the New York City store when it interrogated them about their thoughts on unionization and then restricted the use of pro-union flyers.

Apple has previously denied any wrongdoing in relation to its stance on unions, something that continues to get it in hot water at other stores around the world.


Bloomberg reports that a judge has written to Apple, telling it that it must stop “interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees.”

“Apple fosters an open and inclusive work environment whereby employees are not just permitted, but encouraged, to share their feelings and thoughts on a range of issues, from social justice topics to pay equity to anything else that they feel is an important cause to promote in the workplace,” Apple attorney Jason Stanevich said at a January hearing before the same judge, Bloomberg reports.

Two of Apple's United States Apple Stores chose to unionize last year, with Maryland and Oklahoma voting to take that route. However, some Apple Stores have previously warned that the company has taken a dim view of any attempts to discuss potential unionization including interfering with plans to vote on the subject.

It isn't just at home that Apple has clashed with unions. Australian workers forced Apple to work with unions over worker pay and weekends off last year.

Apple will hope that any worker unrest won't affect what is sure to be a busy second half of the year. The iPhone 15 is expected to be announced in September, with new Apple Watches also on the horizon for what could be Apple Stores' busiest time of the year.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.