Amazon and consultants found guilty of violating federal labor law by threatening workers and racially disparaging union organizers in Staten Island.
Amazon’s Violations of Federal Labor Law
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge ruled that Amazon and its consultants violated federal labor law by interrogating and threatening employees regarding their union activities and racially disparaging organizers seeking to unionize a Staten Island warehouse.
Timeline of Violations
The violations took place between May and October 2021 at Amazon’s largest warehouse in New York, known as JFK8, during a period of increased union organizing activity.
Unionization at Staten Island Warehouse
In April 2022, employees at the Staten Island warehouse voted to join the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), becoming the first unionized Amazon facility in the U.S. Since then, the ALU has been working to negotiate a contract with Amazon.
Details of Violations
The judge heard testimony from Amazon employees, managers, and labor consultants, leading to findings of illegally confiscated organizing materials, surveillance of organizing activities, and retaliation against a supporting employee who was later fired.
Amazon’s Use of ‘Persuaders’
The company hired a ‘union avoidance’ consultant who threatened employees and disparaged the union, a common tactic by companies seeking to deter unionization. Amazon reportedly spent $14 million on anti-union consultants in 2022.
Consequences and Response
As a result of the ruling, Amazon is required to post notices about workers’ rights at its facilities, as well as compensate the fired employee. Amazon has disagreed with some aspects of the ruling. The company’s labor practices have faced widespread scrutiny and criticism.
Ongoing Challenges and Disputes
Amazon continues to challenge the union election results, clash with union leaders, and faces numerous unfair labor practice charges across the U.S. The company’s conduct surrounding union elections has come under intense scrutiny.