National Labor Relations Board prosecutors in Brooklyn found merit Wednesday to charges that the Amazon Labor Union filed against the company, a precursor to the agency issuing a complaint or taking other formal actions based on the allegations.
The company could avoid a complaint by settling with the NLRB.
Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse chose union representation in an April 2022 election, which triggered the company’s obligation to bargain for a first contract.
An administrative law judge ruled against Amazon in January in a separate case, holding that the company violated federal labor law in a bid to resist unionization at facilities on Staten Island. Amazon can challenge that ruling before the full NLRB.
A lawyer for Amazon Labor Union called the agency’s new allegations against the company “huge.”
“People should be outraged that Amazon feels that the law doesn’t apply to them,” said Seth Goldstein of Julien Mirer Singla & Goldstein PLLC.
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Two of the new allegations against Amazon relate to discipline against Derrick Palmer, a co-founder of the upstart Amazon Labor Union. The company allegedly issued Palmer a written warning in November and suspended him in December in violation of federal labor law.
But the charge that could create the biggest problems for Amazon is the allegation that it implemented an overly broad off-duty access rule in response to union activity.
That rule potentially runs afoul of Amazon’s nationwide settlement on union access that the company reached with the NLRB in 2021. Amazon pledged in that deal that it wouldn’t implement rules that limit worker access to nonworking exterior areas of the company’s facilities.
The settlement provides the NLRB general counsel’s office with an expedited procedure for having its allegations against the company heard by the board and enforced by a court.
The case is Amazon.com Services Inc., N.L.R.B. Reg’l Dir., Case 29-CA-307076, merit determination 3/22/23.
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