Amazon accused of unlawfully calling cops on workers during assault on union effort
A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board submitted a filing on Monday accusing Amazon of illegally calling the police on workers and other unlawful union-busting tactics during its effort to crush an organizing campaign at a warehouse near Albany, New York.
In the complaint, first reported by Bloomberg, the NLRB official writes that Amazon "has been interfering with, restraining, and coercing" workers as they try to exercise their right to organize under federal law.
During Amazon's attempt to stifle pro-union workers at the Castleton-on-Hudson, New York facility last year, the company "prohibited staff from discussing the union during their work time while allowing them to discuss other non-work topics," according to Bloomberg.
The corporate giant also subjected workers to mandatory "captive audience" meetings aimed at dissuading workers from unionizing and "promulgated a policy prohibiting employees from being on the property before or after their shifts in order to discourage union organizing," the outlet reported.
Seth Goldstein, Amazon Labor Union's attorney, told Bloomberg that "Amazon was so outrageous in their attacks on the union that it was impossible to successfully organize" at the Castleton-on-Hudson facility. Employees at the warehouse voted 406-206 against unionization, a result union leaders said was heavily affected by Amazon's relentless union-busting.
The vote came months after Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, New York voted to form the company's first union in the United States. Amazon is still trying to overturn that election despite an NLRB ruling dismissing the challenge, and the company has since been accused of unlawfully refusing to bargain with the union.
The new NLRB complaint against Amazon alleges that, last August, the company illegally fired an Albany-area employee for engaging in protected union activity. The complaint says Amazon should have to reinstate the terminated worker with back pay and read aloud a notice informing employees of their right to organize—something the company had to do late last year.
In November, a federal judge ordered Amazon to "cease and desist" from retaliating against workers for organizing.
The company has been accused of a wide range of labor law violations, including illegal surveillance, intimidation, and other tactics that U.S. corporations commonly use to stop their workers from organizing.
Last year, Amazon spent more than $14 million on anti-union consultants.