Apple Fires Houston Worker, Escalating Illegal Union-Busting Campaign
CWA files ULP on behalf of worker who was illegally terminated by Apple for organizing
(Houston, Texas)—Yesterday the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of an Apple retail worker in Houston, TX, who was illegally fired for organizing. This is the second ULP filed by CWA against Apple for the unlawful termination of workers for union organizing, demonstrating a clear illegal escalation by Apple against worker organizing.
This same worker had previously faced intimidation on the job for exercising their right to organize. On Monday, March 27, 2023 CWA filed a ULP charge on behalf of the worker following several incidents of interrogation by management regarding their support of the union. The worker had been promised improved working conditions if they declined to support the union and threatened with worsening workplace conditions if they continued to organize. Despite Apple’s attempts to silence this employee, the worker continued to exercise their right to organize and Apple intensified its illegal intimidation tactics by terminating them. Store level management integrated multiple employees at the store to identify the worker involved in the original ULP and once the worker was identified, chose to illegally terminate that employee.
“I don’t want anyone else to experience what I have gone through—no one should be intimidated and fired for exercising their right to organize. I have spent two years at Apple, and I had no clear path to advance my career. After simply asking a question about how unionizing could help set a clearer pathway to promotions for all workers, I faced ongoing retaliation and interrogation from management. No worker should be punished for wanting to learn more about organizing. Apple claims to be inclusive and open to hearing from all voices, but they have chosen to bully workers who dare to speak up. I care deeply about my coworkers across the country, and I want management to respect our perspectives, suggestions and our right to a collective voice. I know that my colleagues will continue to organize because we have a right to our fair share,” said Eli Lujan, former Apple retail worker and member of the Apple Retail Union-CWA.
Last week, CWA released a new report titled: Misleading Metrics: The Truth Behind Apple's Diversity Data. Apple has publicly celebrated its growing number of Black and Hispanic workers yet obscures the fact that these workers have been concentrated to the lowest paid roles at the company. While the number of Black workers at Apple has increased by 70.1% since 2014, 85.6% of those jobs have been in either Sales or Admin Support. The number of Hispanic workers at Apple has increased by 93.1% since 2014 with 60.8% of those jobs being in either Sales or Admin Support. Racial disparity at Apple is crystallized when the same data reveals that 187.2% of the job growth for white workers between 2014 and 2021 has been in the “First/Mid Officials & Managers'' and “Professionals” job categories. As retail workers represent nearly 40% of Apple’s entire workforce these disparities impact thousands of workers. Organized workers across Apple are seeking clear pathways to career advancement as a union contract is an effective way to secure equity for all workers.
Since Apple retail workers began exercising their legally protected right to organize, the company has unleashed an all out retaliatory and illegal union-busting campaign against its own staff. Apple has chosen to retain known union-busting firm Littler Mendelson and instruct managers at stores across the country to dissuade workers from organizing through interrogation, intimidation and attempted silencing. In response, CWA has filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against the trillion-dollar company for violating its workers' right to organize. CWA has now filed ULP’s alleging retaliation against worker organizing by Apple at retail stores in Atlanta, New York, Oklahoma City, Houston, and Kansas City. In Kansas City, MO Apple illegally fired five workers for organizing. A ULP was filed on behalf of the fired workers in March.
“Apple retail workers are a key factor in the company’s status as the world’s most profitable company. However, instead of engaging with the expertise of their workers seeking to improve working conditions for all, this trillion dollar corporation is choosing to ignore the law and silence workers. Just like Starbucks, Apple is showing its true colors. And, just like at Starbucks, Apple retail workers will continue to organize for a protected voice on the job,”said Claude Cummings Jr., Vice President of CWA District 6.
A copy of the unfair labor practice charges attached below.
The Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA) is a network of worker-organizers and their staff working every single day to build the voice and power necessary to ensure the future of the tech, game, and digital industries in the United States and Canada. CODE-CWA is a project of the Communications Workers of America which represents hundreds of thousands of workers throughout tech, media, telecom, and other industries who stand together to fight for justice on the job and in our communities.
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