Well, the National Labor Relations Board is accusing Amazon of being Amazon again, by which we mean illegally harassing its employees as a part of its anti-union activities.
This is perhaps the smallest surprise ever:
Federal labor regulators on Thursday accused Amazon of illegally surveilling and threatening workers who are trying to unionize a Staten Island, N.Y., warehouse.
The complaint, first reported by Bloomberg News, marks the National Labor Relations Board’s latest brush with the e-commerce giant over questions about its tactics. The NLRB wants to compel Amazon to take certain actions to inform workers of their right to organize, according to Kathy Drew King, a regional director for the agency.
Amazon “repeatedly broke the law by threatening, surveilling, and interrogating their Staten Island warehouse workers who are engaged in a union organizing campaign,” King said in a statement.
The Amazon Labor Union, an independent group of workers that isn’t connected to a major national union, recently collected the required signatures to hold a vote on Staten Island, an NLRB spokesperson said Wednesday. A hearing on the vote is scheduled for Feb. 16.
The NLRB complaint stems from four recent cases, the earliest of which was filed in May 2021, according to a legal document obtained by The Washington Post. It alleges the company threatened workers against unionizing, surveilled them in their activities and tried to solicit grievances in exchange for voting against the union. It names two human resources managers, one operations manager, two security guards and a consultant of acting on Amazon’s behalf to violate workers’ rights.
According to the complaint, the consultant “interrogated” employees about their organizing activities, called union organizers “thugs” and allegedly threatened employees by telling them it would be futile to select the union as their bargaining representative. The consultant also is accused of soliciting unspecified grievances from employees with the promise to remedy them if they reject the union.
The complaint contends Amazon has been “interfering with, restraining and coercing employees” who are exercising their rights under the law.
It seeks to require Amazon supervisors to undergo mandatory training describing employees’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act. It also seeks to require the company to post notices describing workers rights on social media, in its electronic applications for workers, and in all employee bathrooms including in the stalls.
Unless and until senior Amazon executives are frog marched out of their offices for repeatedly ignoring the law, this will not change.