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Organizing Update


Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint against Apple for the corporation's flagrant disregard of labor law. The complaint is the result of unfair labor practice charges CWA filed about Apple management’s actions at the Oklahoma City, Okla., store, where workers successfully formed a union with CWA despite the company's illegal interference. The workers are currently bargaining with Apple on their first union contract.

Despite Apple’s public commitments to develop and retain top talent, the corporation has chosen to attack its own employees for simply seeking to exercise their legally protected right to organize. The NLRB’s complaint makes clear that Apple’s behavior puts the company among the worst and most aggressive union-busters in the country, in step with Amazon and Starbucks. The NLRB has found merit in several charges including interrogation of employees about their support for the union, holding mandatory captive audience meetings, and threatening employees with retaliation if they won their union election, and will prosecute Apple for breaking federal labor law.


Solar Alliance Southeast

Workers at Solar Alliance Southeast (SASE) in Knoxville, Tenn., have overwhelmingly voted to join Solar Workers United (CWA Local 3805) in a National Labor Relations Board election. Fed up by the failure of Solar Alliance owners to recognize the value of their contributions, the workers have been organizing for dignity, respect, and a voice on the job. The workers are involved in the engineering, procurement, construction, and sales of solar projects on every scale – from residential to commercial and utility scale installations.

SASE workers receive low and inconsistent pay that is grossly under the industry standard and does not match the workers’ level of expertise and skills. In addition, the workers are constantly overworked without additional compensation, lack job security and safety, as well as adequate resources and support. Following their union election win, the workers are gearing up to negotiate a fair contract and resolve the challenges that have made their jobs difficult.


San Marcos Hays County EMS

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Paramedics at San Marcos Hays County EMS in Texas won union recognition to join CWA in a National Relations Labor Board (NLRB)-conducted mail-ballot election. The workers and the organizing committee overcame numerous challenges to win the vote, including rampant rumors of layoffs if the union won, apartment numbers getting left off the NLRB's ballot mailing list, and fear-mongering about strikes from local elected officials.

Soon after the workers announced their efforts to form a union, County officials hired Littler Mendelson (the firm Apple and Starbucks both hired to bust union efforts at their companies) and filed a petition with the NLRB arguing that the workers could not form a union under the National Labor Relation Act (NLRA) because they were public employees working for the government. Thanks to the workers' continued effort to fight for their union, after a thorough review of the facts, the NLRB ruled that the workers are entitled to collective bargaining rights under the NLRA. Their success in securing this impactful ruling has set a new precedent for workers who seek to form unions.

The workers also received strong support from Austin EMS Association (CWA Local 6914) members, which was crucial to their success. They will now join CWA Local 6914 as a new chapter, the Hays County EMS Association. CWA District 6 staff hope to support Local 6914's continued expansion by organizing more groups of EMS workers around Texas.