May 21, 2024

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Amazon CEO Andy Jassy broke labor law with union statements and rules for judges

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy broke labor law with union statements and rules for judges

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy made comments to the media in 2022 that violated federal labor law, a US National Labor Relations Board judge ruled on Wednesday.

Remarks Jassy made to reporters about the downsides of joining a union told “employees that if they chose a union, they would become less empowered and would find it difficult to get things done quickly,” NLRB administrative law judge Brian J. wrote.

Gee cited various comments Jassy has made, including telling CNBC that making workplace improvements is “much slower” with a union and saying at a New York Times conference that employees without a union are “better off” because “it's not bureaucratic.”

Gee also cited Jassy for telling the Bloomberg Tech Summit that in a unionized shop, “If you see something on the line that you think might be better for your team or for you or for your customers, you can't go to your manager and say 'Let's change it.'

While precedent establishes that a manager can make fact-based predictions about “clearly possible consequences beyond his or her control,” Gee wrote that Jassy “provided no objective basis” for his assertions.

The judge said Amazon should be forced to post a notice at its facilities in the United States informing employees of their rights and a commitment not to threaten them.

Amazon said it strongly opposes the ruling and plans to appeal. Spokeswoman Mary-Kate Paradis said: “The decision reflects poorly on the state of free speech rights today, and we remain optimistic that we will be able to continue to engage in a reasonable discussion of these issues where all viewpoints have the opportunity to be heard.” In an email message.

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The Amazon Workers Union, which brought the case to the NLRB, celebrated the ruling. “It sends a clear message that attempts to dissuade workers from exercising their right to organize and bargain collectively will not be tolerated,” union attorney Seth Goldstein said in a text message.

US law allows companies to oppose and protest unions, but it does not allow them to threaten to punish workers if they organize.

Rulings by NLRB judges can be appealed to members of the Labor Board in Washington, and from there to federal court. The agency lacks the authority to hold executives personally liable for violations or force companies to pay punitive damages.

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