Last month, Amazon failed to overturn a Staten Island warehouse’s vote to unionize and now it has taken another loss. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge has ruled that the the company broke federal labor laws in an effort to push back a unionization drive at that facility and another that voted against the union, The New York Times has reported. Amazon can still appeal the ruling to the NLRB’s Washington board.
Federal administrative judge Benjamin Green ruled that Amazon supervisors unlawfully threatened wage increases and benefits if workers formed a union. The company also violated the law by removing a worker’s post on a digital message board inviting co-workers to sign an Amazon Labor Union petition to make Juneteenth a paid holiday, the judge said.
Several other complaints by the union were dismissed, however. Those include accusations that Amazon said take-home pay would fall in the case of unionization, and that it promised improvements in an educational subsidy program if workers voted against the union. The union also protested Amazon saying workers would be fired if they formed a union but failed to pay union dues. The latter was not illegal, the judge ruled, and the other complaints were overstated.
Amazon took all that as a positive. “We’re glad that the judge dismissed 19 — nearly all — of the allegations in this case,” said spokesperson Mary Kate Paradis in a statement to the NYT. “The facts continue to show that the teams in our buildings work hard to do the right thing.”
The judge set aside one decision brought by the labor board as to whether employers can force workers to attend anti-union meetings. That puts the ball in the court of the NLRB, which can overturn a 75-year old ruling. “I believe that the NLRB case precedent, which has tolerated such meetings, is at odds with fundamental labor-law principles,” the labor board’s lawyer Jennifer Abruzzo wrote in a memo last year.
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