Managers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island illegally threatened employees with loss of benefits and withholding or reducing wages if they voted to unionize over a period of about a year prior to the union vote in April, which the union ultimately won, according to a new complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board.
“I think it’s historic,” Seth Goldstein, a pro bono attorney for the Amazon Labor Union, said regarding the NLRB complaint. “I think it’s going to reverse decades’ worth of anti-union decisions.”
Most of the alleged violations in the complaint have to do with what was said during so-called captive audience meetings, or when companies require employees engaged in union drives to sit through anti-union presentations or speeches, a common tactic by companies opposing unionization. In April, a top lawyer at the NLRB called on the board to ban such meetings, saying they “inherently involve an unlawful threat that employees will be disciplined or suffer other reprisals if they exercise their protected right not to listen to such speech.”