Atlanta Apple Store Staff Withdraws Request for Union Vote: Report

  • The labor group seeking to represent Apple store workers in Atlanta has withdrawn its request for a union vote, citing intimidation, reports say.
  • The vote, slated to take place June 2, could have ushered in the first unionized Apple store in the US.
  • The decision comes days after audio leaked showing a top Apple exec expressing her concern about unionizing to the company’s retail staff.

Workers at an Apple store in Atlanta have withdrawn their request for a union vote just days before it was set to take place, citing alleged intimidation by the tech giant, reports say.

Retail staff at Apple’s Cumberland Mall store location were slated to vote on June 2 on whether or not they wanted to be represented by the union Communications Workers of America (CWA). Now, they’re dropping the bid for unionization, in tandem with claims from the CWA that “Apple’s repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act have made a free and fair election impossible,” Bloomberg reported.

“An overwhelming majority of the workers at the Cumberland Mall Store announced that they were forming a union in April and requested recognition from the company,” a CWA representative said in a statement, according to CNBC. “Since then, Apple has conducted a systematic, sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union.”

In April, workers at the store became the company’s first to file for a union election, with more than 70% of workers who’d be eligible for the unit signing union cards. If successful, the vote would have ushered in the first unionized Apple store in the US.

In the time since, news reports have pointed to allegations of anti-union tactics by Apple.

Just days ago, leaked audio recordings showed Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, expressing concern about unionizing to Apple’s 58,000 retail staffers.

“I worry about what it would mean to put another organization in the middle of our relationship, an organization that does not have a deep understanding of Apple or our business, and most importantly, one that I do not believe shares our commitment to you, “O’Brien said, according to Vice, which published part of the recording.

Earlier in May, Vice also reported that Apple sent a script of anti-union talking points to store managers.

Besides Atlanta, Apple stores in Maryland and Kentucky, as well as the company’s flagship location in New York City, have kicked off the process of pursuing unionization.

The tech giant has raised base pay for retail workers from $20 to $22 per hour amid the stores’ push for unionization, according to a memo viewed by The Wall Street Journal and CNBC. The raise also comes against the backdrop of a hot labor market and rising inflation.

Representatives for CWA and Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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