Amazon workers face fewer hurdles in union push under agreement

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Labor organization and worker activity is on the rise in Amazon facilities across the country. On Wednesday, a group of workers and organizers on Staten Island refiled a union petition with the NLRB after failing to meet the signature threshold in the fall. In Chicago, workers from two warehouses walked out following a pay dispute, Crain’s Chicago Business reported. 

“This settlement agreement provides a crucial commitment from Amazon to millions of its workers across the United States that it will not interfere with their right to act collectively to improve their workplace by forming a union or taking other collective action,” NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a statement.

The NLRB encourages companies to settle disputes with workers and when that doesn’t happen, brings charges before administrative law judges. Their rulings can then be appealed to the NLRB’s presidentially appointed members in Washington and from there, to federal court.

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Tech industry workers in recent years have become more vocal about their employers’ positions on such issues as immigration and climate change. In September, Google parent Alphabet Inc. settled a dispute with a software engineer the labor board alleged was fired for workplace activism.

Amazon has faced dozens of labor complaints since the pandemic began. Amazon privately settled one in September with two web designers who the U.S. labor board alleged were fired for workplace activism. The workers, who were dismissed in 2020 after advocating for Amazon to do more to fight climate change, said the settlement required Amazon to pay them back wages. Amazon denied wrongdoing.

There have been few consequences for Amazon to push the limits of U.S. labor laws. It has been able to resolve most previous complaints by agreeing to post signs in employee break rooms informing workers of their rights or settling privately with their accusers. The latest settlement more expansive than past agreements but still primarily entails Amazon notifying workers of their existing rights.

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via Crain’s Chicago Business

December 23, 2021 at 05:00PM

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