In a sign that federal labor officials are closely monitoring management behavior during union campaigns, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday it found ground in allegations that Amazon and Starbucks had violated labor laws.
At Amazon, the labor council found grounds for allegations that the company needed workers to attend anti-union meetings in a huge warehouse on Staten Island where the Amazon Labor Union achieved a stunning election victory last month. The decision was communicated to the union on Friday by an attorney from the Brooklyn Regional Office of the Labor Council, according to Seth Goldstein, a lawyer representing the union.
Such gatherings, often known as “captive audience” gatherings, are legal under current labor council precedent. But last month, the council’s general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, said, issued a memo saying the precedent was at odds with the underlying federal statute, and she indicated she would try to challenge it.
In the same indictment, the Amazon Labor Union accused the company of threatening to withhold benefits from workers if they voted to unionize, and inaccurately informing workers that they could be fired if the warehouse joined a union. and they didn’t pay the unions. contribution. The Labor Board also found these allegations to be well founded, according to an email from regional office attorney Matt Jackson.
Jackson said the agency would soon file a complaint reflecting these allegations unless Amazon settles the matter. The complaint would be referred to an administrative judge, whose decision could be appealed to the Washington Labor Board.
Understand the Unionization Efforts at Amazon
Mr Goldstein applauded Ms Abruzzo and the regional office for taking “decisive steps to end the mandatory gatherings of the public in captivity” and said the right to trade unions “is protected by ending to Amazon’s inherently coercive work practices.”
Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement that “these allegations are false and we look forward to showing that at trial.”
At Starbucks, where the union has won the first votes in more than 50 stores since December, the labor council filed a complaint Friday over a series of charges the union had filed, most in February, accusing the company of illegal conduct. Those allegations include firing workers in retaliation for supporting the union; threaten workers’ ability to receive new benefits if they choose to join a union; require employees to available for a minimum number of hours to continue working in a union shop without negotiating the change, as a way of firing at least one union supporter; and effectively promise benefits to employees if they decide not to join a union.
In addition to these allegations, the Labor Board found merit in allegations that the company was harassing employees by closing stores in Buffalo and watching employees while they were at work. All those actions would be illegal.
In a statement, Starbucks Workers United, the division of the union that represents workers there, said the finding “confirms the magnitude and depravity of Starbucks’ behavior in western New York for the better part of a year.” It added: “Starbucks will be held accountable for the union-destroying minefield they forced workers through as they struggle for their right to organize.”
Starbucks said in a statement that the complaint is not a judgment of the Labor Commission, adding: “We believe the allegations in the complaint are false and we look forward to presenting our evidence when the allegations are tried.”