The first big battle between Apple and the union may be about to break out.
According to Bloomberg, Apple Towson, the company’s first union retail store in Maryland, US, has filed a labor complaint against the company. The complaint, which was filed with the National Labor Relations Board, alleges that the company deliberately withheld certain benefits from its union workers.
The International Machinists and Space Workers Association, the working group that represents store employees, filed a complaint with the NLRB on Wednesday in response to the benefits issue.
Apple launched new features, but not for unions
The complaint came in response to Apple’s move in October that launched a number of new health benefits for its employees but excluded employees at the Towson site. Advantages include:
- Apple prepays some tuition for overseas education. The company has long reimbursed employees for a portion of education costs, but the iPhone maker will now pay the amount up front. This will start at a few colleges, although the list is expected to expand over time.
- Program with Coursera Inc. Starts January 1st giving Apple employees a free membership. Coursera is an online course provider that typically charges $399 per year for its premium subscription.
- In some states, including Connecticut, New York, Georgia, Washington and New Jersey, employees will get a new health care plan that waives the co-pay for certain Apple-certified physicians within the UnitedHealth Group Inc network.
However, the benefits were withheld from employees in the union store. Apple said the reason was that because of the union, the company needed to negotiate with them separately “through the collective bargaining arrangements that come with the union.”
The report notes that the union may have an uphill battle with its complaint due to the fact that “this new feature is only available in certain states, including Connecticut, New York, Georgia, Washington and New Jersey.”