Earlier this year, the employees at the Apple shop in the Cumberland Mall were beginning to organize.
According to the National Labor Relations Board, Apple's actions to suppress employees' unionization efforts were illegal under federal law. The regional director for the NLRB in Atlanta came to the conclusion that Apple convened required "captive audience" sessions and made coercive remarks with anti-union overtones. In an attempt to join the Communications Workers of America, the staff at Apple's Cumberland Mall location filed for a union election with the NLRB earlier this year (CWA). However, they withdrew their petition in May, and the CWA filed a complaint against unfair labor practices on their behalf.
Apple "conducted required 'captive audience' sessions with bargaining unit employees regarding the approaching election," the CWA alleged in its complaint at the time. The organization claimed that having the sessions is "not only union-busting, but an example of psychological warfare" in a more recent statement it provided to Bloomberg. According to the news source, the NLRB previously permitted businesses to mandate that workers attend meetings before union elections. However, Jennifer Abruzzo, the labor board's current general counsel, considers them to be unlawful and coercive.
If the tech juggernaut doesn't reach a settlement, the NLRB warned that it will file a complaint. Although the regional director of the labor board has sided with the workers and the CWA, it is still unclear whether Apple will be forced to alter its practices or face any form of punishment. Companies may contact NLRB board members in Washington to appeal decisions made by the board's judges, who will hear complaints brought by regional directors. After that, the case can be taken to federal court.
By May, Apple had been charged with "unfair labor practices" by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which is the legal term for breaking the National Labor Relations Act, which forbids businesses from interfering with the creation or organization of a union. According to reports, Apple used "captive meetings," in which managers force staff members to attend sessions with anti-union messages.
Things got worse at the end of the month. After the union accused Apple of running "a systematic, sophisticated operation to intimidate" workers, the election campaign was shelved. Apple Together later clarified that this was just a postponement of the vote and not a permanent rejection of the unionization effort at the shop.
The NLRB has filed a new complaint against Apple after concluding that a CWA report on behalf of the company's World Trade Center employees in New York City had sufficient validity. In that specific instance, Apple was charged with monitoring employees, preventing them from accessing pro-union flyers, and making them sit through anti-union talks. On December 13, a judge will hear the case if Apple doesn't reach a settlement.