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CODE-CWA Press & Updates

CODE-CWA Newsletter: October 14

CODE-CWA Newsletter: October 14

"I really hope that this kind of reinvigorates the labor movement further and gets more locations, whether it's Apple or not, whether it's local Trader Joe's or Home Depot's, whatever it is," said Michael Forsythe, Apple Retail Worker. "I hope more people start fighting to take their seat at the table. And I hope that we can show up and do what we can in solidarity to support them.

BIG DAY TODAY! Tonight retail workers at the Apple store in Oklahoma City will hold their NLRB election vote tally, and if successful, they’ll become the first group of Apple workers represented by CWA, and the second unionized Apple store in the United States. Earlier this year Atlanta Apple retail workers became the first Apple store to file for a union, and this past summer Towson Apple Workers became the first store to win their union, both inspiring other workers to do the same. From Activision Blizzard to Apple, workers from all over are learning from each other.

Whenever unions organize, there is often resistance from bosses. For example, CWA has filed numerous unfair labor practice charges against Apple due to labor violations made against workers. One of which already has merit in the eyes of the NLRB, with more under review. The battle is a long and difficult one, but one must remember not to give up. Fighting for your rights not only benefits you, but also all those who come after you. If you win, they get inspired. If you lose, they get better prepared for their own fights. Last year, October was dubbed “Striketober” because of the waves of people walking out and demanding their rights. This year those waves of people have made a difference. We have seen the first union in a AAA games studio, the first union in the company with the largest market capitalization in the US, and a wave of unionization in the largest coffee chain in the world. All those organizers were once in your position too. If they can do it, why not you. Let's make this Striketober bigger than before. Organize! Reach out!


On Saturday October 22nd join us for an organizer training at 10 AM ET/ 7 AM PT where we talk about union basics, the CWA organizing models, and some key ways to connect with co-workers through organizing.. Check the CODE-CWA organizer training program for upcoming classes!

Worker News

Oklahoma City Apple Employees Take Steps to Unionize

An Apple store in Oklahoma City is voting to unionize. The Penn Square Mall store is only one of two in the entire state, which means they get higher than average traffic at the store. The higher in store traffic, no bilingual pay, and a lack of a clear promotions process were the main reasons they decided to unionize. As Kevin Herrera, a union organizer and Apple employee explains, “It takes an average of three years for my peers and my colleagues to transition into a full-time role. I don't know about anyone else but it's hard to support a family on a part-time income." The Penn Square store will be the second Apple store in the country to win a union election. Despite majority support for the union, management has used anti-union tactics to try to curb organizing efforts. The employees have even resorted to communicating through online platforms such as discord. As employee and union organizer Michael Forsythe said “Management has to do all their union busting within a 4 to 8 hour shift that every employee has every day. If we have a digital space like this, we have control of that 24/7.” Read more here and here

Communications Workers of America File Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against Apple Ahead of Oklahoma City Union Election

In support of Apple workers in Oklahoma City, CWA filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging managers at the company’s Penn Square location informed workers that support for the union was futile, threatened to withhold benefits from workers supporting the union, engaged in unlawful surveillance, interrogated workers, and subjected workers to illegal captive audience meetings. The employees’ vote was planned for the 13th and 14th of October. The company responded to the planned vote by calling outside managers to manage the store, so that the current managers could hold one on one anti union conversations. In one meeting the manager even told employees that unionizing would give no power, and that Apple would not have to give them more money. The NLRB’s general council has found merit in one of CWA’s earlier filings and is prepared to take action if the matter is not settled. Read more on Bloomberg

Labor Board Says Activision Withheld Raises From Union Activists

The National Labor Relations Board has found merit on multiple issues raised by an unfair labor practice charge filed by CWA against Activision for discriminating and retaliating against workers at its Raven Software studio. The determination affirms that Activision withheld raises from their lowest-paid workers on the basis of their union activity. During its investigation of the charge, the NLRB also discovered that Activision executives attempted to undermine the union by soliciting grievances from the bargaining unit during the organizing drive. The company is currently holding negotiations with the QA testers at Raven Software for a collective bargaining agreement. If the two parties do not reach an agreement, then the NLRB could prosecute the case in front of a federal judge. The company plans to defend its position during litigation, even though Microsoft — who is acquiring Activision Blizzard — has said it would support the rights of Activision Blizzard workers. “We just want the company to bargain in good faith, bargain a fair contract, and move past all this cheap and illegal behavior,” said Sara Steffens, Secretary-treasurer of CWA. CWA has also updated their initial complaint — Activision Blizzard is still breaking labor law by refusing to reinstate the Quality Assurance department at Raven Studios. Read more on the Washington Post

N.L.R.B. Issues Complaint Against Apple

Following a four month long investigation, the National Labor Board Relations New York region formally issued a complaint on the unfair labor practice charges brought by CWA against Apple for multiple federal labor law violations. CWA filed complaints for restricting placement of union flyers, mandatory captive audience meetings, and for surveillance. A hearing with an NLRB judge for two of the charges will be held on the 13th of December. Sara Steffens, the Secretary-treasurer for CWA said “Apple has a choice. Does it want to be known for intimidating its workers and creating a culture of fear, or does it want to live up to its stated values and welcome true collaboration with all of its employees?”  Read more on the New York Times

This Week in History

OCTOBER 10 1933 – Six days into a cotton field strike by 18,000 Mexican and Mexican-American workers in Pixley, Calif., four strikers are killed and six wounded; eight growers were indicted and charged with murder.

OCTOBER 13 1985 – More than 1,100 office workers strike Columbia University in New York City. The mostly female and minority workers win union recognition and pay increases.

OCTOBER 15 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signs the Clayton Antitrust Act — often referred to as “Labor’s Magna Carta” — establishing that unions are not “conspiracies” under the law. It for the first time freed unions to strike, picket and boycott employers. In the years that followed, however, numerous state measures and negative court interpretations weakened the law.

Song of the Week

Hold the Line by Tom Morello

Nobody said it would be easy

Nobody said that it would all be fine

But to get where we're going

Brother, you've gotta hold the line

It ain't a matter of if

Nah, it's just a matter of time

But to get where we're going

Sister, gotta hold the line