In the wake of Atlanta store employees petitioning the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to become a union, Apple has hired a law firm to fight back.
According to The Verge, Apple has hired lawyers at Littler Mendelson, a law firm specializing in anti-union efforts. The move is in response to employees at the Cumberland Mall in Atlanta taking steps to join the Communications Workers of America.
Some see Apple’s decision to hire the firm as antithetical to its stated positions of listening to employees and being inclusive.
“From the start I’ve thought unionization was a good thing,” one current retail employee told The Verge. “Pay is so unequal at the stores — there are people who’ve been in roles for less time making more than people who’ve worked in those same roles for years. They position themselves as a company that’s open to feedback but nobody acts on it. With a union backing the employees, they’ll be more pressure on them to actually act on it.”
Littler Mendelson has quite a reputation, being hired by Starbucks and McDonald’s to fight unionization efforts among their employees.
“By retaining the notorious union busting firm Littler Mendelson, Apple’s management is showing that they intend to try to prevent their employees from exercising their right to join a union by running the same playbook as other large corporations,” said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens. “The workers at Starbucks, another Littler client, aren’t falling for it and neither will the workers at Apple.”
Apple has been struggling with employee relations of late, with many unhappy over the company’s return-to-office policies. Hiring a firm like Littler Mendelson is not likely to help the company’s image.