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Apple hires anti-union lawyers to battle Atlanta retail employees’ unionisation

Apple store employees at Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall filed for a union election last week

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Apple hires anti-union lawyers to battle Atlanta retail employees’ unionisation

Apple has hired anti-union attorneys at Littler Mendelson in an ongoing battle with Atlanta retail employees who have filed for a union election. Even though the firm has not officially announced its position on Apple Stores unionisation, the action sends a clear message that it intends to discourage workers from organising for improved compensation and working conditions.

Communications Workers of America Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens says that Apple’s management, by hiring the renowned union-busting company Littler Mandelson, is demonstrating that they plan to try to prevent their employees from exercising their freedom to unionise by following the same script as other huge businesses like Starbucks, and McDonald’s.

Littler Mendelson P.C. is a legal practice established in the United States that specializes in labour and employment litigation, as well as global mobility and immigration concerns. And presently, it is representing Starbucks in its efforts to prevent employee unionisation. It previously assisted McDonald’s in avoiding liability in a 2014 lawsuit in which the firm was accused of violating labour regulations as a joint employer by retaliating against workers who engaged in the Fight for $15 movement.

Apple store employees at Atlanta’s Cumberland Mall filed for a union election last week. Employees are organising a union with the Communications Workers of America. The move sparked a frenzy of organising at Apple Stores around the country.

One of the retail employees at the Apple store said, “From the beginning, I believed unionisation was a positive thing.” He added, “Pay at the stores is so unfair — those who have been in jobs for less time making more than people who have been in those same responsibilities for years.” They present themselves as a corporation that welcomes input but takes no action on it. With a union on their side, there will be more pressure on them to take action,” reports The Verge.

According to one employee at an Apple store in New York, the corporation has hosted captive audience meetings, a frequent practice used to propagate anti-union messages during work hours. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there attempting to terrify the masses,” said the worker, who requested anonymity to preserve their job security. “I believe they’re in a panic.”

The union campaign follows a rough two years for retail workers who have had to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and mental health crises aggravated by hard workloads.

Apple hasn’t responded on its connection with Littler. However, Apple spokesperson Nick Leahy in a statement said, “We are lucky to have excellent retail team members, and we highly respect what they contribute to Apple. We are glad to provide excellent salary and benefits to both full-time and part-time employees, including health insurance, tuition reimbursement, new parental leave, paid family leave, yearly stock awards, and many other perks.”

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