US Labor Agency to Accuse Amazon of Union-Busting Practices in ALU’s New York Drive - Reports

© AP Photo / Craig RuttlePeople arrive for work at the Amazon distribution center in the Staten Island borough of New York, on Oct. 25, 2021.
People arrive for work at the Amazon distribution center in the Staten Island borough of New York, on Oct. 25, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.05.2022
Since its 1994 founding, Amazon has vigorously sought to disrupt labor union organizing efforts, including hiring high-octane consultants, bombarding workers with anti-union messaging, and even changing stoplight times outside their warehouses to deny organizers a chance to talk to each other.
According to a Friday report by Bloomberg, the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is preparing to accuse Amazon of breaking federal union-busting laws.
The agency, which regulates labor union activities, including their formation and collective bargaining process with employers, said Amazon held illegal mandatory meetings aimed at demonizing labor unions and made illegal threats against its workers. The NLRB will file formal suit if the ecommerce giant doesn’t agree to settle, Bloomberg reported.
Ironically, Amazon filed a complaint with the NLRB last month accusing the ALU of interrupting those very same meetings, saying it’s held them for years without complaint from the NLRB. Last month, NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo said in a memorandum that she would appeal to the board to find such meetings to be a violation of the National Labor Relations Act, the 1935 law that created the board and legalized labor unions in the US.
People arrive for work at the Amazon distribution center in the Staten Island borough of New York, on Oct. 25, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.05.2022
Amazon Labor Union Suffers First Loss in Second Staten Island Warehouse Vote - Reports
Despite Amazon’s activities, the ALU won a stunning victory on April 1 when the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York, voted for the union to represent them. In the wake of their success, ALU chief Christian Smalls said workers from some 100 Amazon facilities had reached out to the ALU seeking representation. However, the nascent union failed to replicate the victory in a second Staten Island facility where voting ended on May 2.
Testifying before the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, Smalls said that “the people are the ones that make these companies operate. If we’re not protected, and if the process for when we hold these companies accountable is not working for us, then - that’s the reason why we’re here today.”
“The type of things that Amazon do - breaking the law, intimidation - these are real things that traumatize workers in this country. Thousands of workers across this country … we want to feel that we have protections. We want to feel that the government is allowing us to use our constitutional rights to organize,” Smalls added.
Smalls was employed at the JFK8 warehouse until March 2020, when he and several other workers were fired for organizing against inadequate safety measures against the spread of COVID-19, which was declared a global pandemic that month.
An Amazon logo appears on an Amazon delivery van, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Boston.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.02.2022
Leaked Audio Shows Amazon Official Threatening Workers Over Union Election - Reports
Amazon workers have long complained about inadequate attention given to safety alongside myriad other issues, including long work shifts without bathroom breaks and a high degree of surveillance of their work. Suicide is a common concern at Amazon facilities: The Daily Beast found that 189 emergency calls relating to suicide were made between 2003 and 2018.
Many of these have only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first six months of the pandemic, Bezos’ wealth ballooned by $48 billion, and in 2020, Amazon’s profits increased by 84% over the previous year as billions of people stayed home for safety, creating a massive demand for product deliveries. In 2021, the company added another 22% growth, bringing in $469 billion in revenue, according to company earnings reports.
However, its most recent report, released last week, revealed a net loss in the first quarter of 2022 - its first such loss in four years. According to Seeking Alpha, the loss was mostly attributable to a mark-to-market adjustment related to Amazon’s investment in electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive.
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