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Amazon Hit with Labor Board Court Petition to Reinstate Worker

March 17, 2022, 7:32 PM

The National Labor Relations Board’s top official in Brooklyn asked a federal court to order Amazon.com Inc. to reinstate an employee who was fired after becoming the “public face” of workplace organizing to improve Covid-19 safety protocols at the company’s Staten Island warehouse.

Reinstating Gerald Bryson is crucial to show workers—who are slated to vote in a union election later this month—that the NLRB can protect their labor law rights, Regional Director Kathy Drew-King said in a petition filed Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Drew-King is seeking the order under the section of the National Labor Relations Act that permits the agency to request court injunctions to block alleged unfair labor practices while the case is litigated before an administrative law judge.

The board last week gave the Brooklyn regional director the necessary authorization to file the petition.

NLRB prosecutors hit Amazon with an unfair labor practice complaint in December 2020 for allegedly disciplining and firing Bryson due to his workplace activism.

Bryson interrupted a managers meeting in March 2020 to advocate for Covid-19 protections for workers at the Staten Island warehouse, Drew-King said in the injunction request. He participated in two demonstrations at the facility over pandemic safety before he was suspended, and then terminated, in April 2020, she said.

In addition to Bryson’s reinstatement, Drew-King also asked the court to force Amazon to post physical copies of its order in various places at the Staten Island warehouse, send electronic copies of the order to all workers at the facility, and have the order read aloud to workers during at least one mandatory meeting.

Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agrait and Bryson’s attorney, Frank Kearl of Make the Road New York, didn’t immediately respond to telephone and email requests for comment.

The case is Drew-King v. Amazon.com, E.D.N.Y., No. 22-01479, Petition filed 3/17/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Iafolla in Washington at riafolla@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com, Melissa Robinson at mrobinson@bloomberglaw.com

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