COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Technology giant Apple has been accused of creating a fake, corporate-run union at its Easton Town Center store in order to curb independent employees’ unionization efforts.
In a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board Dec. 16, the Communications Workers of America accused the company of violating the National Labor Relations Act by, among other things, telling employees that if a union were formed, Apple would not participate in certain collective bargaining. CWA also accused Apple of encouraging workers to join an “employer-created” labor organization instead of pursuing union formation.
In an update on Thursday, the CWA said Apple’s actions at Easton are part of its national anti-union effort to stifle employees’ attempts at bargaining for better pay and working conditions.
“Creating a work group controlled by management is undemocratic and a clear attempt at union-busting,” Sara Steffens, secretary-treasurer of the CWA, said in the update. “If management actually cared about workers having a voice on the job, they would direct them to the Apple Retail Union/CWA which is run by workers, not bosses.”
Attorneys listed in the complaint for Apple and the CWA did not respond to requests for comment.
The CWA alleged that within the last six months, Apple held a mandatory meeting during which a company representative falsely stated that Apple was barred by law from “bargaining certain subjects” if employees formed a union. The representative also said Apple would refuse to bargain other “certain subjects” if a union developed.
The original complaint does not include evidence of the allegations; rather, both Apple and the CWA will submit evidence as the NLRB investigates the charges.
The complaint out of Easton is far from the first employees and labor organizations have lodged against the company. Just two days before, the CWA filed an NLRB charge against Apple in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, alleging the company issued coercive statements, coercive actions and unfair discipline and refused to participate in good faith in the bargaining process. On Nov. 16, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers filed a complaint against Apple in St. Louis, Missouri, also alleging coercive statements in an effort to discourage unionization.
According to a complaint filed against an Apple store in Atlanta, the company similarly held mandatory meetings – dubbed in both the Columbus and Atlanta charges as “captive audience meetings” – ahead of the store employees’ union election. Store employees had previously petitioned the NLRB for the union election, making the Atlanta store one of the first in the country to file for union recognition.