Judge finds Amazon violated labor law in union-busting effort

Judge finds Amazon violated labor law in union-busting effort

Judge finds Amazon violated labor law in union-busting effort

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Amazon violated labor laws ahead of union elections last year at two Staten Island warehouses, a federal administrative judge has ruled.


The judge, who hears cases for the National Labor Relations Board, ruled on Monday that Amazon supervisors had unlawfully threatened to withhold wage and benefit increases for warehouse workers if they voted to unionize . The judge, Benjamin W. Green, also ruled that Amazon unlawfully deleted messages on an employee’s bulletin board inviting co-workers to sign a petition circulated by the Amazon Labor Union. The union sought to represent workers at both warehouses.

The ruling ordered Amazon to end unfair labor practices and post a notice saying it would not engage in them.

In the same decision, the judge dismissed several charges brought in a complaint by labor board prosecutors, including accusations that Amazon said take-home pay would drop if workers unionized; that Amazon has promised improvements to a program that subsidizes workers’ education expenses if they choose not to unionize; and that Amazon said workers would be fired if they unionized and failed to pay union dues.

The judge ruled that these accusations were either exaggerated or, ultimately, that the action was not illegal.

Amazon can appeal the decision to the labor commission in Washington.

“We are pleased that the judge has dismissed 19 – almost all – of the allegations in this case,” Mary Kate Paradis, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement, adding, “The facts continue to show that teams of our buildings are working hard to do the right thing.

The union declined to comment.

The violations occurred at a sprawling Amazon warehouse known as JFK8, where workers voted to unionize in an election whose results were announced in April, and at a smaller nearby warehouse known as the name of LDJ5, where workers rejected a union the following month.

In the weeks leading up to the election, Amazon summoned warehouse workers to dozens of union-busting meetings in which supervisors questioned the credibility of the Amazon Labor Union, pointed out the high cost of union dues and warned that workers could find themselves worse off under a union. .

The judge’s ruling dismissed a larger issue raised by labor board prosecutors: whether employers can force workers to attend such meetings.

The meetings are legal under labor board precedent and common among employers facing labor campaigns. But the council’s general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, argued that the precedent was in tension with federal labor law and had sought to challenge it.

Judge Green concluded that he had no authority to overrule the precedent. “I am bound to apply the law in force,” he wrote. Ms. Abruzzo’s office may file an appeal asking the Washington Labor Board to overturn the precedent.


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