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PHILADELPHIA – In the truest form of trade union solidarity, Workers United and the Communications Workers of America (CWA), together with the organizing committee of Fruit Stand Workers United(FSWU) have agreed that CWA will provide support to FSWU’s union organizing efforts at Apple’s Grand Central Station store in New York City. FSWU had originally approached Workers United for support. Workers United is the union that is supporting the Starbucks Workers United campaign.
“The work we do at Workers United has always been guided by the values we believe in – integrity, compassion and the need to do what is best to create density and power and success for workers who are organizing,” said Lynne Fox, International President of Workers United, an SEIU affiliate. “CWA has a national plan that will lead to density and collective power for Apple Retail workers. It is counterproductive for Unions to go after “hot shops” to the detriment of the collective good of the campaign.”
“Starbucks workers who have been organizing – and winning – union representation across the country with Workers United’s support have inspired retail workers at Apple, Verizon Wireless, and many other companies,” said Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America. “We appreciate the confidence that the Fruit Stand Workers United organizing committee has in our plan to build worker power at Apple. We look forward to continuing to learn from and collaborate with Workers United as we help workers win a union voice on the job.”
The flagship store in the iconic Grand Central Station employs more than 270 workers, and FSWU continues to work strategically towards unionizing. Workers at the store are seeking to improve their working conditions by asking for a seat at the table.
“When we think about the next step in mobilizing our peers into power, we can only fight back the endless union busting and fear tactics on a larger scale. Through Workers United, we have learned what we can expect from Littler, and we are prepared. By joining forces with CWA, we intend to participate with countless other stores to achieve workers’ rights across Apple Retail in the U.S. and we believe we will succeed,” said Anthony Viola, a member of the organizing committee for FSWU.
Through its CODE-CWA campaign, CWA has been supporting workers at tech and video game companies who want to improve their working conditions and make sure that their employers’ actions align with their stated values. After workers at the Cumberland Mall store filed for their union election in April, Apple hired the infamous union-busting law firm of Littler Mendelson, the same law firm that Starbucks has hired in its attempt to slow down organizing at Starbucks stores across the country, to systematically make a free and fair union election impossible. CWA has filed several Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board in response to Apple’s national campaign designed to intimidate retail workers and prevent them from choosing to join the union.
“We will maintain close communication between Workers United and CWA,” Fox said. “Our shared experiences of dealing with Littler will inform and strengthen the organizing that is taking place both at Starbucks and at Apple. Workers United knows the Littler playbook all too well now.”