Report reveals terrifying details of Apple's union-busting efforts

Apple Store Towson
(Image credit: Apple)

A new report has revealed the terrifying details of the lengths Apple managers at a store in Towson, Maryland, went to try and stop employees from forming a union. 

The story comes after employees at the store became the first to successfully form a union in recent weeks, joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The workers feel so put out by Apple's tactics that they've signed a petition on calling on Apple to respect its employee's rights.

"What we received in return for reaching out to our CEO was nothing short of a systematic and coordinated campaign designed to inflict substantial collective pressure on us as a workforce," the petition states. " To be clear, this was nothing short of traumatic for many of us.  We are still dealing with the emotional effects of this campaign as guided by Littler Mendelson."

What went down

Wired reports that "employees felt especially blindsided by the ferociousness of the campaign, given the company’s stated commitment to progressive values and inclusivity". 

The report describes captive audience meetings and a bizarre morning download exercise where employees performed "nonverbal communication", answering by nodding or shaking their head questions about pay rises, vacation, and more. 

Managers held roundtables and pulled employees aside to criticize unions one-on-one. "According to Rhodes, managers emphasized how grateful employees should be for the pay and benefits they receive from Apple, and suggested that they could lose them if the union won," the report states, going on to say that "one employee was told his immigration assistance could be taken away if the union won."

The report also says that Apple targeted the specific IAM union they were joining, painting it as a racist institution. Store managers are also accused of amplifying the voices of anti-union staff, noting "a store leader told union supporters they couldn’t discuss the union during work hours, but allowed anti-union staff to freely push their rhetoric."

Other Apple stores nationwide and even in the UK are also starting the push to form unions. The company announced another record quarter for Q3 this week and has promised to give pay rises early to staff this year in the face of very high inflation and the cost of living crisis.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9