Instead of Workers United, the Grand Central store will be filed under Communications Workers of America.
Workers at Apple’s Grand Central store in New York are joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA) instead of Workers United, as was originally planned. Workers in Maryland, Georgia, and Kentucky have announced union campaigns as part of a broader organizing push at Apple retail outlets around the country. If any of the stores succeed, they will be the first Apple employees’ union in the United States.
Both unions characterized the action as a positive step toward consolidating worker power across the country in a news release. “The CWA has a nationwide plan for Apple Retail workers that will lead to density and collective strength,” said Lynne Fox, Workers United’s international president.
“It’s unproductive for unions to go target ‘hot businesses’ at the expense of the campaign’s collective good.”
The decision reduces the number of national unions actively organizing Apple retail workers to just two: CWA and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), which is organizing workers at the Towson Town Center store in Maryland. Towson workers have filed for a union election, which will begin on June 15th.
While it’s not uncommon for different unions to represent workers at the same company, workers say the new method could help CWA more successfully combat Apple’s anti-union activities. “When we consider the next step in mobilizing our peers into power, we can only fight back on a wider scale against the endless union busting and scare tactics,” stated Anthony Viola, a member of the New York organizing committee.
Workers at the Cumberland Mall store in Atlanta who filed for a union election on June 2nd are also represented by CWA. CWA withdrew its bid less than a week before the vote, claiming illegal union busting and an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Despite this, the organization has already filed complaints against Apple for hosting captive audience meetings in connection with the Atlanta union push. The National Labor Relations Board concluded in April that such techniques are unconstitutional.
“By joining forces with CWA, we want to work with countless other stores across Apple Retail in the United States to gain workers’ rights, and we believe we will succeed,” Viola added.