May 7, 2022 - Economy

Amazon violated federal law with anti-union meetings, labor board says

An Amazon logo on the outside of a warehouse in New York City in April 2022.

An Amazon logo on the outside of a warehouse in New York City in April. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The National Labor Relations Board prosecutors determined that Amazon violated federal labor law by holding mandatory anti-union meetings at a warehouse where workers were weighing whether to unionize, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The National Labor Relations Board regional office in Brooklyn told Bloomberg that it will issue a complaint against the company if it does not agree to a settlement.

  • The complaint would trigger an administrative court procedure, during which both parties can litigate the case, according to ABC News.

Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted to form a union in April, formally joining the Amazon Labor Union, which was started by Christian Smalls, a fired Amazon worker.

  • It marked the first time that organized labor gained a foothold within the e-commerce giant.
  • After the election, lawyers representing the union charged that Amazon held mandatory or "captive audience" meetings to persuade its employees not to unionize during the vote.

The other side: Amazon told Bloomberg that the allegations were false and that such meetings have been standard practice for the company for decades.

  • It is seeking to overturn Amazon Labor Union's victory, accusing the union of violating election rules and the NLRB of applying "inappropriate and undue influence" in favor of the union.

The big picture: Amazon recently fired managers at the Staten Island warehouse that voted to unionize in April, according to Bloomberg.

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