Apple retail store workers in the UK are attempting to unionize, but say they are facing pushback from the company, which is allegedly deploying a variety of “union-busting” tactics, according to ComputerWeekly.
In February 2023, Apple’s Glasgow store became the first of its 40 UK-based locations to unionize, after workers gained formal union recognition from the company. Staff at its White City and Southampton stores are currently in the process of seeking “voluntary recognition” so that workers at each location can act as single bargaining units.
In the case of the Glasgow store, the majority of workers voted to unionize with the GMB in a ballot that was subsequently recognized by Apple. In the other instances, workers joined the United Tech and Allied Workers (UTAW) group, a branch of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) that represents all workers throughout the tech sector, from software engineers to cleaners.
UTAW members have told Computer Weekly that, despite huge worker interest in unionizing, Apple has been using a variety of “union-busting” tactics to discourage them from organizing. This includes allegations of prohibiting employees from even discussing unions at work; holding anti-union “downloads” (Apple-speak for team meetings) and one-to-ones with managers; and implying workers will lose out on workplace benefits as a result of unionizing.
This isn’t the first time Apple has been accused of union-busting moves. In October 2022 the tech giant received a complaint from the US National Labor Relations Board over accusations of union-busting at a New York City store, reports AppleInsider.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) urged the board to do so when it accused Apple of anti-union activities at the company’s World Trade Center store on May 19. And even that wasn’t the first time that the CWA has accused Apple of such activity and said the company had violated the National Labor Relations Act.
On May 12, leaked documents revealed Apple’s anti-union talking points to store leaders across the U.S. in the hopes that it would help suppress unionization efforts by retail workers.
Apple issued a statement about the complaint. “We are fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple,” Apple said to Bloomberg. “We regularly communicate with our teams and always want to ensure everyone’s experience at Apple is the best it can be.”
Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today