Apple Illegally Interrogated Staff, Confiscated Union Flyers in NYC: US Labor Board

By Leira Aquino

May 06, 2024 09:45 PM EDT

Apple Illegally Interrogated Staff, Confiscated Union Flyers in NYC: US Labor Board
The  National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)  uled Monday that Apple unlawfully questioned employees and seized union flyers at its New York City World Trade Center store.
(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In a Monday ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Apple Inc. has been found guilty of illegally interrogating staff and confiscating union flyers at its World Trade Center store in New York City. 

The ruling, made by three members of the NLRB, affirmed the findings of an administrative judge from last year.

The judge had determined that Apple violated federal law in 2022 by preventing workers from placing union flyers on a break room table of the World Trade Center store, confiscating the flyers, and coercively interrogating employees about their pro-union activities, as reported by Forbes

Ongoing Labor Challenges, Unionization Efforts

The NLRB members' decision is the first official rebuke against Apple in this context. However, the board lacks the authority to impose fines or punitive damages directly on the company. 

Apple, which did not provide an immediate comment following the ruling, has previously denied any wrongdoing in relation to labor practices.

This ruling comes amidst a wave of labor organizing efforts within Apple. 

In 2022, employees at stores in Maryland and Oklahoma voted to unionize, while similar efforts were initiated in other locations, including the World Trade Center store. 

However, not all unionization attempts have been successful, with some petitions being withdrawn before voting took place.

Only two Apple Retail Stores in the US and three stores in the UK have unionized successfully. 

READ NEXT: Apple Refutes Allegations of US Court Order Breach in Ongoing Legal Dispute with Epic Games

Apple's Anti-Union Efforts Under Scrutiny

Apple has actively attempted to hinder unionization in its stores through various means, including holding meetings with retail employees to highlight the risks of unionization and discourage them from engaging with union representatives, as reported by Bloomberg.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), the union behind the World Trade Center campaign and the successful Oklahoma unionization, has criticized Apple for interfering with workers' rights to decide on union membership. 

While this ruling addresses one aspect of Apple's labor practices, other cases are still pending, including allegations of excluding unionized workers from certain benefits. 

The NLRB's decisions can be appealed to federal court. 

READ MORE: DOJ-Apple Antitrust Lawsuit May Lead to a Change in Business or a Long Legal Battle [UPDATE]

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