🚚 Amazon Delivers A Labor Violation
Some things have changed since Amazon's leadership transitioned from founder Jeff Bezos to former AWS head Andy Jassy — and some haven't. Take, for example, the company's stance on unions. “It's employees’ choice whether or not they want to join a union,” Jassy began in an April interview with CNBC, before adding, “We happen to think they’re better off not doing so for a couple of reasons at least.” He doubled down on the sentiment in a June interview with Bloomberg, saying he believes Amazon employees are “better off without a union.”
Well, now the National Labor Relations Board is chiming in. A recently-filed complaint by the NLRB claims Jassy's comments are “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” in the National Labor Relations Act. According to CNBC, Amazon has until November 8th to respond to the complaint, and until February 7th to mail/email a notice to Amazon employees about their labor rights under the law.
Since an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island unionized earlier this year, the company has faced a growing movement by employees to unionize.
Amazon workers in California have petitioned to join the Amazon Labor Union, reports NPR. Meanwhile, a warehouse in Alabama is in the midst of the second round of votes, but a warehouse in Albany has voted against the union.
The Biden Administration has been an outspoken proponent of the ALU, publicly congratulating their victory and meeting with Christian Smalls, who led the unionization efforts.
While Amazon's anti-union efforts are no doubt a political act, the company is also funding nonprofits that oppose antitrust legislation, says CNBC. “The Independent Women’s Forum received [a $400,000] contribution from the e-commerce giant in 2021, the same year the group wrote columns speaking out against bills that could strengthen antitrust enforcement,” CNBC writes. Amazon is under global pressure from various governments looking to break up the tech giant's outsized hold on online retail.
The ongoing fight between labor and corporations doesn't seem to be ending in 2022, in fact, it seems to be picking up steam. As Amazon positions itself for a bigger fight, control of Congress in the midterms may further complicate this movement.