Apple’s attempt to control retail communications will only add to its ‘union busting’ image

Apple is trying to control communications between retail workers on an internal tool, and complaints are now strictly moderated, allowing only “happy, company-positive thoughts,” reports AppleInsider.

The article notes that the company has reportedly been waging a quiet war with its retail staff in various locations, especially those that seek to unionize like at Apple Towson. The latest blow to employees occurred after an internal communication tool called Loop cut out the “negative” or “critical” posts with new moderation rules, says AppleInsider.

If the report is accurate, this will almost certainly add to charges that Apple participates in unfair union-discouraging practices. Earlier this month the IAM Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (IAM CORE), a division of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Apple.

According to a press release, IAM says the charge was filed “after a clear pattern of management engaging in regressive and surface bargaining with its unionized employees in Towson, Maryland.” The press release also says that “after more than a dozen bargaining sessions, Apple continues to use stall tactics and act in ways that are not in the spirit of reaching a collective bargaining agreement.” IAM claims that examples of Apple bargaining in bad faith include:

  • Company consistently only proposing current policy as its counter offers, despite having a month or more between bargaining sessions to formulate proposals.
  • A recent management rights proposal from Apple included takeaways from a previous company proposal, clearly showing regressive bargaining on the part of management.
  • Apple has yet to respond to many key union proposals, including grievance procedure, union dues check off and union security.
  • Sharing internal negotiations proposals with Apple employees across the country, after insisting on closed bargaining.
  • Continuously showing up late to the bargaining table, pushing back return dates and times to the bargaining table, and delaying the beginning of negotiations from November 2022 to January 2023.

IAM CORE members, who in June 2022 became the first Apple retail store to organize into a union in the United States, have been negotiating with Apple management since January 2023. The IAM was ready to begin negotiations in November 2022.

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