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Apple accused of creating illegal pseudo-union at Ohio store

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According to a recent complaint by the Communications Workers of America, Apple illegally created a work group driven by managers to try to stop union organizing efforts.

In a filing on December 16 with the US National Labor Relations Board, the Communications Workers of America accused Apple of “soliciting employees to join an employer-created / employer-dominated labor organization as a means of stifling union activities.” This kind of action is forbidden under US federal labor law.

The complaint involves Apple’s Easton Town Center store in Columbus, Ohio.

What Apple made was a “dedicated working group that can be used as a formal means for employees and leaders to provide feedback on both local and retail organization-wide initiatives, policies and practices,” the CWA said.

The CWA also accused Apple of holding mandatory anti-union meetings, something the company has been accused of before. During the sessions, store management reportedly claimed that Apple would be legally barred from negotiating on specific topics if workers unionized, which is false.

“Creating a work group controlled by management is undemocratic and a clear attempt at union-busting,” CWA’s secretary-treasurer, Sara Steffens, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg Law. “If management actually cared about workers having a voice on the job, they would direct them to Apple Retail Union/CWA which is run by workers, not bosses.”

Apple has faced plenty of union activity in 2022. For example, employees at a Maryland Apple Store voted to form a union in June, and workers at Apple’s Penn Square Store in Oklahoma voted to unionize in October.

Not all employees have been successful, however. For example, the CWA tried to unionize staff in Atlanta but withdrew its request in May, saying that Apple used intimidation tactics.

Workers at the St. Louis Galleria Mall Apple Store withdrew their petition to unionize in November. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers blamed Apple’s hostility toward their efforts.

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