Workers stand in line to vote for the union election at Amazon’s JFK8 distribution center, in the Staten Island neighborhood of New York, USA, on March 25, 2022.
Brendan Mcdermid Reuters
The National Labor Relations Committee has found the union’s accusation that Amazon violated labor law in Staten Island, New York, held mandatory meetings by holding mandatory workers’ meetings to reassure its employees not to unionize.
The Labor Committee has in the past allowed employees to order such meetings, which are routinely held at companies like Amazon and Starbucks during union actions.
But in a letter sent to the agency’s field offices last month, NLRB Attorney General Jennifer Abruzzo said she believed the meetings, often referred to as “captive audience meetings”, were against labor law and would seek to outlaw them. .
The agency’s determination was shared Friday with an attorney representing the Amazon Labor Union, who filed the lawsuit ahead of the first successful U.S. organizational effort in the retail giant’s history.
Attorney Seth Goldstein called it a “great victory.”
“These meetings have been legal for more than 70 years,” an Amazon spokesman said. “Like many other companies, we hold these meetings with our employees because it is important that everyone understands the facts about union membership and the election process itself.”
An NLRB spokesman said the agency would file a complaint against Amazon unless the retailer agrees to a settlement. If the company does not agree, the lawsuit would initiate an administrative lawsuit in which both parties can sue.
Bloomberg News was the first to report on the agency’s determination.
The agency also found justification in the union’s accusation that the company indicated workers could be fired if they voted for the union and threatened to deny benefits if they chose to do so, according to an email from Matt Jackson, a lawyer with the NLRB field office in Brooklyn.
“These allegations are false and we look forward to showing it through the process,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement.
The Union of Retailers, Wholesalers and Department Stores, a union that ran a separate organization in Alabama, also appealed mandatory meetings.
The e-commerce giant lodged objections to the union election that led to the workers’ victory, claiming that the organizers and the agency’s regional office in Brooklyn acted in a way that spoiled the vote. A hearing on her claims is scheduled for later this month.
The union lost another election earlier this week at another Amazon warehouse on Staten Island.
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