Apple officials could be headed back to court. This time, the company is facing charges that its officials illegally excluded unionized retail workers from better benefits, according to Bloomberg.
A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint Tuesday alleging the company withheld unionized retail and corporate employees from a new package of medical and education benefits.
The complaint reads that the company withheld its updated October 2022 benefits package, including healthcare, partial coverage for tuition, and a premium Coursera subscription, from workers at the first Apple retail location in Towson, Maryland. An agency spokesperson calls this move discrimination against the Towson workers and, says it serves to discourage unionization efforts elsewhere.
Employees at the Towson Apple Store were the first to unionize in June 2022 to the fanfare of labor activists after a series of perceived union-busting efforts by company officials. Workers at another store in Oklahoma City store followed in October 2022.
This comes just after the company made a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve hiring discrimination accusations. DOJ officials found that the company failed to advertise permanent labor certification program (PERM) positions, violating federal law. Though the company denies intentionally discriminating against job candidates, officials did agree that the recruiting practices did not comply with federal law.
This is not the first time Apple has faced litigation for anti-union practices. A judge ruled back in June that Apple officials “coercively interrogated” pro-union retail workers at the World Trade Center store in New York City and prevented them from spreading union flyers, as also reported by Bloomberg. The judge ordered Apple management to “cease and desist” interfering with workers’ efforts, as labor activism rights are legally protected.
The company has struggled to maintain its workforce in recent years. Apple placed last for worker retention among the nearly top 100 companies in a survey earlier this year. The company also backed down from the high yearly raises it gave employees last year on the back of the unionization efforts.
Agency authorities only have the ability to order changes to company policy; they are unable to place liabilities on any specific executives.
The full case and complaint are available to read and follow on the National Labor Relations Board website.