- The union seeking to represent Apple store workers in Atlanta has withdrawn its request for a union vote, citing harassment, reports said.
- The vote, scheduled for June 2, could have ushered in the first Apple store in the US.
- The decision comes days after audio was leaked showing a top Apple executive expressing concerns about unionizing the company’s store employees.
Workers at an Apple store in Atlanta withdrew their request for a union vote just days before it was set to take place, citing alleged harassment by the tech giant, reports say.
The retail staff at Apple’s Cumberland Mall retail location was set to vote on June 2 on whether or not to represent the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union. Now they are dropping the unionization bid, along with claims by 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 Cumberland Mall Store employees announced they were unionizing in April and asking for recognition of 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 disrupt their right to unionize.”
In April, the store’s employees were the first of the company to sign up for union elections, with more than 70% of workers deemed eligible for the unit signing union cards. If all went well, the vote would have ushered in the first Apple retail store in the US.
Since then, news reports have pointed to allegations of anti-union tactics by Apple.
A few days ago, leaked audio recordings showed Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, expressing concern about the unionization of Apple’s 58,000 store employees.
“I’m concerned about what it would mean to put another organization at the center of our relationship, an organization that doesn’t have a deep understanding of Apple or our company, and most importantly, an organization that I don’t believe who shares our commitment to you,” O’Brien said according to Vice, who published part of the recording.
Earlier in May, Vice also reported that Apple had sent a script of anti-union talks to store managers.
In addition to Atlanta, Apple stores in Maryland and Kentucky, as well as the company’s flagship location in New York City, have initiated the process of pursuing unionization.
The tech giant has increased its base salary for retail workers from $20 to $22 an hour amid retail pressures on unionization, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and CNBC. The increase also comes against the background of a hot labor market and rising inflation.
Representatives from CWA and Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
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