Apple’s labor audit excludes union stores

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Apple’s labor audit, which was initiated by investors following concerns about the company’s anti-union practices, is excluding workers at unionized stores, raising concerns about the credibility of the assessment.

Workers at two unionized Apple stores in Oklahoma City and Towson, Maryland, say they have not been contacted by the auditor, despite the company’s human rights policy, which commits to following the International Labor Organization’s principles that say employers should allow workers freedom of association.

The workers fear that the audit will present an overly rosy view of life at Apple, and that the company may use the report as “propaganda” to bolster its reputation as it continues to stifle organizing efforts.

The investors who originally called for the audit said it was needed because of reports that Apple was trampling on workers’ right to organize. “We continue to endure a vicious anti-union campaign from Apple,” the workers said in a letter to Apple’s board of directors. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represent the employees, say that they are not aware of any outreach to workers at stores in the process of organizing unions either.

Apple has a history of labor audits, notably concerning its supply chain in China. However, the current audit’s details remain undisclosed, leaving workers unsure of how to engage with the process. Experts and investors emphasize the importance of a credible audit that engages with workers who believe their rights are being interfered with. The assessment’s quality will reflect on both Apple’s board of directors and the assessor, influencing the company’s reputation.

While U.S. law protects workers’ right to organize, allegations of anti-union practices persist, including holding “captive audience” meetings and threatening benefits. The National Labor Relations Board is investigating numerous charges against Apple. Apple did not respond to requests for comment on the story.

The sources for this piece include an article in Wired.

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