NLRB discovers an advantage in the union’s accusations against Amazon and Starbucks

In a sign that federal labor officials are closely scrutinizing management’s behavior during union campaigns, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday it found merit in accusations that Amazon and Starbucks violated labor law.

At Amazon, the Labor Council has found an advantage for the fees the company charges workers To attend anti-union meetings In a spacious warehouse on Staten Island where the Amazon workers union is located She won a stunning victory in the elections Last month. The decision was communicated to the union on Friday by an attorney at the Brooklyn Labor Council regional office, according to Seth Goldstein, an attorney representing the union.

Such meetings, often known as “captive audience” meetings, are legal under current Labor Council precedent. But last month, the board’s general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, issue a note Saying the precedent goes against basic federal law, and indicated that she would seek to challenge it.

In the same indictment, the Amazon workers union accused the company of threatening to suspend employee benefits if they voted to join unions, and inaccurately suggesting employees could be fired if the warehouse were to join a union and they failed to pay union dues. The Labor Council also found merit in the accusations, according to an email from attorney in the regional office, Matt Jackson.

Mr. Jackson said the agency will soon issue a complaint that reflects those accusations unless Amazon resolves the case. The lawsuit will be brought before an administrative law judge whose decision can be appealed to the Washington Business Council.

Mr. Goldstein commended Ms. Abruz and the regional office for taking “decisive steps to end the required captive audience meetings” and said the right to form unions “will be protected by ending Amazon’s inherently forced labor practices.”

“These allegations are false and we look forward to demonstrating this through the process,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement.

At Starbucks, where the union has won initial votes in more than 50 stores since December, the Labor Council issued a complaint Friday about a series of charges the union filed, most in February, accusing the company of illegal conduct. Those charges include firing employees in retaliation for their support of the union; Threatening employees’ ability to obtain new benefits if they choose to join unions; Require that workers Available for fewer hours to remain an employee of a union shop without compromising change, as a way of coercing at least one union supporter; He promised effective benefits to workers if they decided not to join unions.

In addition to these allegations, the Labor Council found merit in accusations that the company intimidated workers by closing Buffalo-area stores and engaging in monitoring of workers while they were at work. All of these actions would be illegal.

In a statement, the Starbucks Workers Union, an offshoot of the union that represents workers there, said the finding “underscores the extent and corruption of Starbucks’ behavior in western New York over the greater part of the year.” “It will hold Starbucks accountable for the union-busting minefield through which they forced workers to fight for their right to organize,” she added.

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Starbucks said in a statement that the complaint does not constitute a judgment by the Labor Council, adding: “We believe the allegations in the complaint are false, and we look forward to providing our evidence when the allegations are adjudicated.”

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