Kansas City CALL Newspaper Inc
U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) called on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to investigate allegations of unfair labor practices at Apple Retail stores in Kansas City and Houston, following reports that retail workers were fired and faced intimidation on the job for exercising their right to collectively organize. In a letter to National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, Reps. Cleaver and Garcia wrote: “As you are aware, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees are guaranteed the right to organize and bargain collectively free from interference, intimidation, and coercion from their employers. The NLRB already found Apple infringed upon worker rights earlier this year, and we are concerned about this recurring patten. We respectfully request the NLRB thoroughly investigate these serious allegations.” In March, it was reported that five workers in Kansas City, Missouri were fired by Apple in retaliation for union activity and several Apple workers in Houston, Texas were unlawfully interrogated and disciplined for supporting organizing efforts. According to allegations by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Apple illegally fired and intimidated the workers for exercising their right to collectively bargain, citing minor offenses such as typos in worker time sheets as an excuse to curtail ongoing efforts to organize a union at local Apple Retail stores. Moreover, the allegations charge that Apple forced some of the fired workers to sign a “Release of All Claims” in exchange for a severance package despite the NLRB ruling earlier this year that such practices were illegal. “Any allegation that the largest corporation in the world is using its institutional power to silence and stamp out workers’ God-given right to collectively bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and increased workplace safety is extremely disconcerting—but allegations of retaliation from numerous workers of the same retail store should be investigated with the seriousness this situation deserves,” said Congressman Cleaver. “I don’t care if the offender is Apple or Applejacks, if any business attempts to stifle workers’ right to organize in Kansas City, then they’re going to hear from me about it. I look forward to a swift and thorough investigation from the National Labor Relations Board as we seek to ensure no business, no matter how large or small, can infringe on the rights of American workers.” “No matter your home address or company of employment, workers have the right to organize, collectively bargain, and safely work free from hazards, harassment or intimidation. Large tech companies may think they are above the law, but thorough investigations from the National Labor Relations Board may prove otherwise,” said Rep. Garcia.