Apple store workers in Atlanta were reportedly intimidated out of hosting a union election, according to Bloomberg.
The Communications Workers of America, the group that was looking to unionize Apple store employees in Atlanta, said that it withdrew its election application to the National Labor Relations Board "because Apple’s repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act have made a free and fair election impossible." The group also told Bloomberg that numerous cases of Covid-19 in the city’s Cumberland Mall Apple store have caused issues with the safety of in-person voting.
“Apple has conducted a systematic, sophisticated campaign to intimidate them and interfere with their right to form a union,” the CWA alleged in an email to Bloomberg. The group said they had support from the “overwhelming majority” of the Atlanta store’s workers when originally petitioning.
Because the group withdrew its request to the NLRB to hold an election, it has to wait six months before filing again to represent the same group of workers.
Apple told Bloomberg that the company is "fortunate to have incredible retail team members and we deeply value everything they bring to Apple.”
The news follows Apple increasing its starting hourly wage from $20 to $22 an hour for retail workers while reportedly telling workers that if they unionize, the company may have more difficulty improving worker conditions.
In a leaked video sent to Apple's 58,000 retail employees earlier this week, Apple's Vice President of Retail Deirdre O'Brien said that "because the union would bring its own legally mandated rules that would determine how we work through issues, it could make it harder for us to act swiftly to address things that you raise.”
Atlanta workers first filed a petition to unionize in late April, with around 70% of the store's workers signing cards in support of the election. The group aimed to raise wages to $28 per hour, along with other benefits. They had been slated to hold their election from June 2 through June 4.
Apple retail workers in Louisville, New York City and Towson, Maryland still have plans to unionize as of Friday, though Apple retail workers have not won a union election at any of the company's 272 U.S. retail stores.