Labor group pulls Atlanta store union vote, says Apple is interfering

Atlanta Cumberland
Atlanta Cumberland (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple store workers in Atlanta were supposed to vote in a union election.
  • A labor group helping the employees has now decided to halt the plans.
  • They say Apple has made it impossible to hold free and fair elections, and also cited COVID-19 infections among staff.

An impending vote to elect union representatives at an Atlanta Apple store has been halted because the group says Apple is interfering with the process.

As reported by Bloomberg:

The labor group trying to organize Apple Inc. employees at an Atlanta store is withdrawing its request for an election, citing what it alleges are illegal union-busting tactics by the company.The Communications Workers of America said it took the step "because Apple's repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act have made a free and fair election impossible," according to an emailed statement Friday.

The group also stated that a rise in COVID-19 infections among staff has "raised concerns about the ability of eligible employees to vote and the safety of in-person voting." The vote was supposed to take place on June 2.

The CWA accused Apple of conducting a "systematic, sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union." According to the report, it could be another six months before another petition can be held to set a vote in motion.

Employees at multiple Apple retail stores in Atlanta, New York, Kentucky, and Maryland have gone public with their plans to unionize in order to establish better pay and working conditions for staff. Apple has responded with anti-union talking points and a snap raise of around 10% offered to staff three months earlier than planned.

The CWA has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that staff at the Cumberland Mall store were made to attend "captive-audience" meetings where managers could share anti-union talking points that have been distributed to stores. In a statement of response to these accusations Apple told iMore:

"We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple. We are pleased to offer very strong compensation and benefits for full time and part time employees, including health care, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, annual stock grants and many other benefits."

The CWA says that an "overwhelming majority" of workers at the Atlanta store support the move to form a union.

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