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Apple Fires Workers in Escalation of Illegal Anti-Union Intimidation Campaign

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New Unfair Labor Practice charges filed by CWA in two states reveal a trend of intimidation, interrogation, and attempted silencing by Apple.

(Houston, Texas & Kansas City, Mo.)—The Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed two Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) yesterday on behalf of Apple retail workers in Kansas City and Houston who have been fired and have faced intimidation on the job for exercising their right to organize. This is the first ULP filed by CWA against Apple for the unlawful termination of workers for union organizing.

The charges allege that Apple illegally fired five workers at the company’s Country Club Plaza store in Kansas City and that some of the fired workers were forced to sign a “Release of All Claims” in exchange for a meager severance package. Last month, the NLRB ruled that employers cannot require broad severance agreements that prevent former employees from speaking out against the union-busting and other issues they experienced on the job.

At the Memorial City store in Houston, Apple workers were individually interrogated regarding their support of their union, promised improved working conditions if they declined to support the union, and threatened with worsening workplace conditions if they continued to organize. Workers were also disciplined in retaliation for their continued support of their union.

“Apple management said I was fired for a typo in my timesheet that I had documented and tried to correct. Yet, it is clear the real reason I was fired was for exercising my right to organize and win a protected voice on the job. Apple then attempted to silence me by having me sign a release in order to receive my severance package. No one working at Apple should be interrogated, intimidated, or silenced for trying to organize and win our fair share,” said D'lite Xiong, former Kansas City, Mo., Apple retail worker.

Since Apple retail workers began organizing a little over a year ago, the company has chosen the low road, retaining the notorious union-busting firm Littler Mendelson and launching a coordinated, national union-busting campaign. Workers at multiple stores have experienced the same types of 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 for better pay and working conditions. 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.

From Starbucks to Apple, the union-busting playbook used by unimaginably wealthy corporations is always the same—isolate, intimidate, fire, and silence. It is clear that Apple’s senior management team does not respect their workers’ legally protected right to organize and negotiate for better pay and working conditions. Apple has chosen to continue to break the law, so we will continue to hold the company accountable because no corporation is above the law. Apple’s attempt to interfere with worker organizing is only strengthening the resolve of workers to win a seat at the negotiating table,said Claude Cummings Jr., Vice President of CWA District 6.

CWA recently won reinstatement and compensation for back pay and damages for Seattle-area Verizon Wireless worker Jesse Mason, who was illegally fired by the company for union organizing activities.

Copies of the unfair labor practice charges are available upon request.

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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.

About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.

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