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Apple Store workers illegally fired for union activities, claims NLRB filing

A union has alleged that five Apple Store workers were illegally fired, in retaliation for their union-related activities. Formal charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – which are in addition to those already filed against Apple for other forms of union-busting.

The Communications Workers of America says that while the official reasons for the firing were attendance-related, this was simply a pretext. In one example, a union activist was subjected to disciplinary proceedings for being an average of one minute late on three occasions …


A growing unionization movement among Apple Store workers has seen the Cupertino company accused of a variety of illegal union-busting measures. These range from mandatory attendance at anti-union meetings through creating a fake union and penalizing union members to firing workers for encouraging staff to join a union.

Experts have warned that while union-busting can work, it can have long-lasting negative consequences for companies that engage in it.

Apple Store workers illegally fired, says union

The Washington Post reports the latest charges to be filed against the company.

Apple fired five union organizers in Kansas City, Mo., in retaliation for union activity, the Communications Workers of America alleged in charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday.

The terminated workers, who all were active organizers in a nascent union drive at the Apple store at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, said they were disciplined and fired for tardiness, calling out of work, and improperly filling out attendance-related forms.

Unions say that picking on union activists for minor attendance issues that are commonplace among other staff is a standard union-busting technique. Firings for poor attendance are very rare, said the CWA.

Gemma Wyatt, who worked at Apple in Kansas City for seven years and began organizing at her store last spring, was put on a disciplinary notice after arriving late for her shift by an average of one minute, three times in a month, she said. Apple fired her in early February after two more attendance-related issues.

She said that the intimidation tactic worked, as other staff weren’t willing to put their jobs at risk by getting involved in the push to form a union.

The filing also alleges that the store managers held a number of increasingly aggressive staff meetings to deter them from joining a union, and eventually made attendance at these meetings mandatory – which is a breach of federal labor laws.

Photo: Apple

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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