Amazon allegedly told workers it would lower pay and benefits if they unionized in Staten Island, according to Vice. The new complaint from the National Labor Relations Board accuses the company of breaking federal labor laws in the run-up to the first successful election for a union at Amazon.
The complaint alleges that in the months before the vote, Amazon held "captive-audience meetings" at the JFK8 facility where the company threatened to reduce worker salaries and change benefits, according to Vice. In the complaint, the NLRB demands that Amazon train its managers about workers' union rights and post signs and text workers about those rights.
If Amazon doesn't agree to settle the new complaint from the NLRB, labor administrators will file the complaint with an administrative law judge and the case will go to trial. Though captive-audience meetings have been permitted under past NLRB precedents, NLRB general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, a Biden administration appointee, changed course in April by asking the NLRB to make those meetings illegal.
The workers at the Staten Island warehouse secured the first successful union election in Amazon's history on April 1. Amazon immediately challenged the results of the election, accusing both the Amazon Labor Union and the NLRB itself of breaking labor laws before the election. The NLRB will hold hearings on those challenges before the union win can be officially certified.
"Our focus remains on working directly with our team to make Amazon a great place to work. The allegations in NLRB complaint are without merit, and we look forward to showing that through this process," Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, wrote in an email to Protocol.
This story was updated on Jun 1 with a statement from Amazon.