Apple Store workers in St. Louis reject union organizing efforts

Workers at the Apple Store’s St. Louis Galleria location decided not to organize this week and opposed unionization in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board, reports said Bloomberg.

Employees said they didn’t believe the union would offer “anything complementary to Apple’s culture and existing benefits,” suggesting Apple’s efforts to improve benefits to discourage unionization were successful. Apple increased paid sick leave and vacation time in February and improved working conditions in June by increasing the time between shifts, limiting night shifts and not scheduling employees more than five days in a row.

The shop’s workers said they did not want to be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the working group that wanted to organize the shop. 66 workers out of 90 said they “do not want to join the union and do not support the union in any way”.

IAM dropped plans for a union organizing vote in November, blaming “anti-union practices and increasing animosity towards workers” at the time. Employees claim that IAM stopped organizing after learning about the petition. “The majority of employees at this ‘Apple Store’ do not want to work with the IAM,” the employees said. They also said they “don’t think there is a need for a union at this point”.

Workers said union opposition was not swayed by management, although Apple has been accused of engaging in anti-union behavior. Apple refused to give new benefits to a unionized business in Maryland in October, and employees there were told Apple had to negotiate benefits with Apple through the union.

Apple’s retail manager Deirdre O’Brien has warned employees that unionizing would make it harder for Apple to introduce changes. “We have a relationship that’s built on open and collaborative and direct engagement,” she said at the time. “Which I think could change fundamentally if a shop is represented by a union under a collective agreement.”

To date, two Apple Stores in the US have chosen to unionize, and employees at several other Apple retail locations are considering unionization.

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