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NLRB Finds Merit in Union Accusations Against Amazon and Starbucks


In an indication 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 law.

At Amazon, the labor board found merit to charges that the corporate had required staff to attend anti-union meetings at an unlimited Staten Island warehouse where the Amazon Labor Union won a surprising election victory last month. The determination was communicated to the union Friday by an attorney for the labor board’s regional office in Brooklyn, based on Seth Goldstein, a lawyer representing the union.

Such meetings, often often known as “captive audience” meetings, are legal under current labor board precedent. But last month, the board’s general counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, issued a memo saying that the precedent was at odds with the underlying federal statute, and she or he indicated that she would seek to challenge it.

In the identical filing of charges, the Amazon Labor Union accused the corporate of threatening to withhold advantages from employees in the event that they voted to unionize, and of inaccurately indicating to employees that they could possibly be fired if the warehouse were to unionize they usually didn’t pay union dues. The labor board also found merit to those accusations, based on an email from the attorney on the regional office, Matt Jackson.

Mr. Jackson said the agency would soon issue a grievance reflecting those accusations unless Amazon settled the case. The grievance can be litigated before an administrative law judge, whose decision could possibly be 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 suitable to unionize “might be protected by ending Amazon’s inherently coercive work practices.”

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a press release that “these allegations are false and we look ahead to showing that through the method.”

At Starbucks, where the union has won initial votes at greater than 50 stores since December, the labor board issued a grievance Friday over a series of charges the union filed, most of them in February, accusing the corporate of illegal behavior. Those accusations include firing employees in retaliation for supporting the union; threatening employees’ ability to receive latest advantages in the event that they decide to unionize; requiring staff to be available for a minimum variety of hours to stay employed at a unionized store without bargaining over the change, as a technique to force out a minimum of one union supporter; and effectively promising advantages to staff in the event that they resolve to not unionize.

Along with those allegations, the labor board found merit to accusations that the corporate intimidated staff by closing Buffalo-area stores and interesting in surveillance of staff while they were on the job. All of those actions can be illegal.

In a press release, Starbucks Employees United, the branch of the union representing staff there, said that the finding “confirms the extent and depravity of Starbucks’s conduct in Western Latest York for the higher a part of a 12 months.” It added: “Starbucks might be held accountable for the union-busting minefield they forced staff to walk through in fighting for his or her right to prepare.”

Starbucks said in a press release that the grievance doesn’t constitute a judgment by the labor board, adding, “We imagine the allegations contained within the grievance are false, and we look ahead to presenting our evidence when the allegations are adjudicated.”

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