Nlrb Counsel Captive Audience Meetings Union Labor Amazon

Labor regulators detect merit in accusations by unions at Amazon and Starbucks.

Labor regulators find merit in accusations by unions at Amazon and Starbucks.

Workers had accused the companies of unlawful behavior during recent spousal relationship campaigns.


DeSean McClinton-Holland for The New York Times

In a sign that federal labor officials are closely scrutinizing management behavior during union campaigns, the National Labor Relations Board said Friday that it had found merit in accusations that Amazon and Starbucks had violated labor constabulary.

At Amazon, the labor board found merit to charges that the company had required workers to attend anti-union meetings at a vast Staten Isle warehouse where the Amazon Labor Union won a stunning ballot victory terminal calendar month. The conclusion was communicated to the marriage Friday past an attorney for the labor board’s regional office in Brooklyn, co-ordinate to Seth Goldstein, a lawyer representing the union.

Such meetings, often known every bit “captive audience” meetings, are legal under current labor lath precedent. But last calendar month, the board’s general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, issued a memo maxim that the precedent was at odds with the underlying federal statute, and she indicated that she would seek to challenge information technology.

In the same filing of charges, the Amazon Labor Marriage accused the company of threatening to withhold benefits from employees if they voted to unionize, and of inaccurately indicating to employees that they could be fired if the warehouse were to unionize and they failed to pay union dues. The labor board also found merit to these accusations, according to an email from the attorney at the regional office, Matt Jackson.

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Mr. Jackson said the agency would soon result a complaint reflecting those accusations unless Amazon settled the case. The complaint would be litigated before an authoritative law judge, whose determination could exist appealed to the labor board in Washington.

Mr. Goldstein applauded Ms. Abruzzo and the regional office for taking “decisive steps ending required captive audience meetings” and said the right to unionize “volition be protected by ending Amazon’southward inherently coercive work practices.”

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a argument that “these allegations are simulated and we look frontwards to showing that through the process.”

At Starbucks, where the spousal relationship has won initial votes at more than 50 stores since December, the labor board issued a complaint Friday over a series of charges the union filed, almost of them in Feb, accusing the company of illegal behavior. Those accusations include firing employees in retaliation for supporting the union; threatening employees’ power to receive new benefits if they choose to unionize; requiring workers to be bachelor for a minimum number of hours to remain employed at a unionized store without bargaining over the change, as a style to force out at to the lowest degree one union supporter; and effectively promising benefits to workers if they decide not to unionize.

In addition to those allegations, the labor lath found merit to accusations that the visitor intimidated workers by closing Buffalo-area stores and engaging in surveillance of workers while they were on the job. All of those deportment would exist illegal.

In a statement, Starbucks Workers United, the branch of the spousal relationship representing workers there, said that the finding “confirms the extent and depravity of Starbucks’due south behave in Western New York for the ameliorate part of a year.” Information technology added: “Starbucks will be held accountable for the spousal relationship-busting minefield they forced workers to walk through in fighting for their right to organize.”

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Starbucks said in a argument that the complaint doesn’t constitute a judgment by the labor board, adding, “We believe the allegations contained in the complaint are simulated, and we look forrard to presenting our evidence when the allegations are adjudicated.”

Nlrb Counsel Captive Audience Meetings Union Labor Amazon