Federal labor regulators have moved to pressure Amazon to scrap a rule that governs workers’ use of nonwork areas, accusing the corporate of illegally singling out union supporters in imposing the coverage.
A grievance issued on Tuesday by the Nationwide Labor Relations Board’s Brooklyn workplace stated Amazon “selectively and disparately enforced the rule,” which utilized to distributing supplies and to solicitation actions, “by discriminatorily making use of it in opposition to workers who engaged in union exercise.”
The grievance amounted to a discovering of advantage in a cost introduced by the Amazon Labor Union, which mounted organizing efforts — one profitable, one not — at two warehouses on Staten Island this 12 months. The case might be litigated earlier than an administrative regulation choose except it’s settled beforehand, and Amazon may enchantment an antagonistic ruling to the nationwide labor board in Washington.
The grievance stated the corporate utilized the solicitation coverage unlawfully when it prohibited staff from posting a pro-union register a nonwork space at one of many Staten Island warehouses, generally known as LDJ5. The corporate threatened self-discipline if the employees posted the signal or didn’t take away the signal, in line with the grievance, which additionally stated at the very least one employee was disciplined below the solicitation coverage.
The grievance additionally accuses the corporate of disciplining two staff to discourage them from partaking in union exercise.
After successful a vote to characterize roughly 8,000 staff at one other Staten Island warehouse, JFK8, the union misplaced an election at LDJ5 by a large margin in Might.
Beneath Amazon’s acknowledged coverage, workers are prohibited from soliciting co-workers for, say, monetary contributions on firm grounds throughout work time, or from distributing nonwork-related materials in work areas. The coverage additionally prevents nonemployees from conducting any type of solicitation on firm grounds.
The labor board’s grievance stated Amazon may reinstate the coverage provided that it explicitly acknowledged that the coverage didn’t apply to organizing and associated exercise by staff, generally known as protected concerted exercise. The grievance additionally seeks to require that each one supervisors, managers, safety personnel and outdoors consultants employed by Amazon obtain coaching on staff’ federally-protected labor rights. It may have an effect on a lot of the firm’s roughly a million workers nationwide.
(The grievance isn’t clear on whether or not the coaching can be nationwide or solely within the New York area, and a spokeswoman for the labor board was not instantly in a position to make clear.)
“Amazon is committing flagrant human rights violations by unlawfully disciplining A.L.U. supporters and prohibiting union organizing within the firm’s break rooms,” stated Connor Spence, the union’s treasurer, in a press release. “Union organizing in employer break rooms is a protected proper mandated by the Nationwide Labor Relations Board.”
Paul Flaningan, an Amazon spokesman, stated in a press release, “These allegations are utterly with out advantage, and we stay up for displaying that by way of the method.”
The grievance comes at an vital second for the Amazon Labor Union. This month, a listening to officer for the labor board advisable rejecting Amazon’s formal problem to the union’s JFK8 victory. (Amazon has stated it can in all probability enchantment a ruling on this query.) However defending the victory consumed time that the union had hoped to spend on pushing for a contract on the warehouse.
In October, the labor board will maintain an election involving the union and roughly 400 staff at an Amazon warehouse in Albany, N.Y.
Karen Weise contributed reporting.