St. Louis, Apple Store Workers Reject Unions

St. Louis, Apple Store Workers Reject Unions

Bloomberg - Apple Inc. retail employees pushed back on unionization efforts at a location in St. Louis, with staffers saying they don't want to be represented by the International Association of Machinists Aerospace Workers, a labor group that tried to organize the store.

According to a petition that workers are filing with the National Labor Relations Board, 66 of the store's 90 employees -- nearly three-quarters -- have rejected the IAM, saying they do not want to join the union and do not support the union in any way. The group of employees said they started collecting signatures opposing the union on November 22. The IAM had been working to unionize the St. Louis Galleria store at the time, but dropped its bid for a vote the following day.

When it canceled plans to push for a union election, the IAM blamed anti-union practices and increased hostility toward workers. The group has scrapped the effort after learning of the petition against the union in a statement Monday.

The employees at the Apple Store do not wish to work with the IAM, the employees said in Monday s statement. The majority of workers at the St. Louis Galleria Apple StoreApple Store do not believe that a union is required at this time, nor do they wish to work with the IAM in the future. The labor movement has made inroads at Apple this year, with stores agreeing to unionize in Oklahoma City and Towson, Maryland. It has also faced a lot of setbacks. The St. Louis experience - with a rare public rebuke of the union by employees - underscores the challenges of winning over workers at the world's most valuable company.

According to the petition set to be filed with the NLRB, the majority of store employees oppose union representation and said that any previously signed union cards are null and void. An Apple spokesman wouldn't say anything. The IAM said there had been a sufficient showing of interest to file for a union election in St. Louis and that an Apple retail employee reported management intimidation during the campaign, leading the group to file an unfair labor practice complaint.

The group said that all working people have the right to pursue their own destiny, regardless of whether they would like union representation or not.

According to the employees statement, workers said they didn't feel that the union would provide anything complementary to Apple's culture and existing benefits, and that some felt misled after initially giving support to the group. The union's organizers said the IAM ignored requests to delay the vote and rushed the process.

The signers of the petition claim they objected to the union without any of the management's help. Some retail employees at other stores complained of heavy-handed tactics by Apple, saying managers held meetings decrying labor efforts. Apple has withheld some new benefits from its unionized stores, which drew criticism from organizers.

The latest setback has left employees at several of Apple's 270 locations considering unionizing, according to workers.

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