Apple broke the law with anti-union tactics in NYC, labor watchdog barks

Interrogations, confiscating flyers, and prohibiting literature is no bueno, board says in final decision of 2022 case

Apple tried to protest, but the complaints fell on deaf ears as the US National Labor Relations Board has finally decided the tech giant violated labor laws by interfering with union organizing activities at a New York City location.

NLRB judge Lauren Esposito ruled last year that Apple had suppressed organizing at its World Trade Center location by interrogating employees, confiscating union flyers, and prohibiting union reps from posting union literature in the break room. Apple contested, but on Monday the NLRB issued its own decision confirming Esposito's findings and dismissing Apple's complaints. 

"We have carefully examined the record and find no basis for reversing the findings," the Board said of Apple's objections to "some of [Esposito's] credibility findings," which are a look at court records to determine if they're supported by evidence. 

Of Apple's claim that a subject's subjective mental state must be taken into account when determining whether an interrogation was unlawful, the NLRB similarly decided that "[Apple's] argument is without merit." 

As is usually the case when the NLRB makes a decision, there's no fine because the Board lacks such authority. Instead, Apple was told to stop interrogating workers, post a sign about labor rights in the breakroom, and to stop removing union literature. 

NLRB decisions can be appealed to federal court, but it's not clear if Apple plans to do that. We've reached out with questions, but haven't heard back.

Oh - it's you. Again.

This is hardly Apple's first run-in with the NLRB in recent years. As the retail and tech worker labor movements gain steam, the number of Apple stores and shops seeking to unionize only grows with it.

A number of Apple retail stores have tried to form unions, and several of those workers have alleged Apple attempted to throw a spanner in the works, with NLRB complaints contesting the tech company's behavior towards organizing workers in Atlanta, Kansas, Texas, and elsewhere. The iMaker has even been accused of forming its own decoy union in Ohio, and the board said last year that it "found merit" to allegations that Apple's internal behavior tended toward interfering with protected labor activities.

We contacted the NLRB to learn more about the current status of its cases involving Apple, but didn't hear back.

The Board elsewhere said that this week's decision is its first decision against Apple, so other cases are likely still in process. ®

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