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An Amazon warehouse. Photo: Oli Scarff via Getty Images

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Amazon illegally fired two of its most prominent critics last year after they spoke out against the company's management of warehouse workers and impact on climate change, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The news comes as the board is set to reveal the results of a high-profile unionization vote at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama this week.

How it happened: The employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, joined dozens of Amazon workers last year in reporting company retaliations to the labor board.

  • While Amazon has long faced accusations of unfair labor practices, scrutiny has increased during the pandemic. Amazon's warehouse employees are considered essential workers and cannot work from home, increasing their potential exposure to the coronavirus.
  • The NLRB has pushed the company to reach a settlement with the workers. If they don't, the NLRB told Cunningham and Costa it would formally accuse Amazon of unfair labor practices, per the Times.

What they're saying: "It’s a moral victory and really shows that we are on the right side of history and the right side of the law," Cunningham told the Times.

The other side: A company spokesperson said Amazon supports employees' rights to criticize their employer, but that Cunningham and Costa were fired because they did not follow internal policies, according to the Times.

The big picture: The union has said workers face intense pressure and surveillance in order to ensure they meet quotas.

  • The results of the unionization fight in Alabama "could alter the shape of the labor movement and one of America’s largest private employers," the Times writes.

Go deeper

Apr 5, 2021 - Podcasts

Amazon’s historic labor vote

Results for the closely watched union vote at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, are expected this week.

It’s been a long and contentious union drive that has received intense pushback from Amazon. It's an organizing effort that could impact the future of the modern day labor movement.

  • Plus, why the coming weeks are crucial for climate change.
  • And, tracking new variants of the coronavirus.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

An inside look at Intuit's Mailchimp acquisition

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Mailchimp recently agreed to be acquired by Intuit for $12 billion, we noted how it was the richest sale ever of a private bootstrapped company. Now we know more about why the Atlanta-based email marketing company never took outside funding.

The big picture: Mailchimp founder and CEO Ben Chestnut tells Axios that it was all about timing.

"Noticias Telemundo" names Julio Vaqueiro as new anchor

Julio Vaqueiro. Photo: Noticias Telemundo

Emmy award-winning journalist Julio Vaqueiro will become the new anchor of "Noticias Telemundo," the network's daily Spanish-language evening newscast, Noticias Telemundo announced Thursday.

The big picture: Vaqueiro replaces José Díaz-Balart, who is returning to MSNBC later this month to host a new show as NBC seeks to add more diverse voices to its English-language news programs.