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US Labor Board rules Apple illegally interrogated retail staff in NYC

Apple World Trade Center

The US Labor Board found that Apple conducted unauthorized interrogations of employees at the Apple World Trade Center retail store in New York City.

In a recent ruling, the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Apple engaged in illegal practices at a NYC retail store in 2022. First, the company interrogated staff members about union activities. Second, it restricted the distribution of union flyers within the workplace.

The decision by a trio of board members affirmed a ruling in 2023 from an administrative law judge, which also found Apple guilty of similar labor violations, according to the latest reporting from Bloomberg.

Notably, employees at stores in Maryland and Oklahoma successfully voted to unionize in 2022, although they have yet to secure collective bargaining agreements with the company.

Apple was reported to have engaged in various "coercive interrogation" practices, prompting the company to announce its intention to appeal the ruling. Moreover, unionized workers at another Apple store have raised concerns over what they perceive as retaliatory measures following their unionization efforts.

The company's union challenges aren't isolated to New York City. A store in Short Hills, New Jersey, is poised to vote on unionization, potentially becoming the third unionized Apple store in the US.

These developments are part of a more significant wave of unionization efforts within the tech industry, a promising sign where workers are increasingly pushing for better working conditions, benefits, and representation.

The NLRB ruling poses substantial challenges to Apple's current labor practices and sets a crucial legal and moral precedent for how tech companies engage with organized labor.

Decisions made by NLRB members can be challenged in federal court. However, it's important to note that the agency doesn't have the power to assign punitive damages or to hold executives personally accountable for infractions, which can limit the effectiveness of its rulings.