Amid continued backlash for unfair treatment of workers, Amazon finalized a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday to allow its warehouse employees to organize more easily.
Under the terms of the agreement, the NLRB will be able to investigate and sue Amazon more quickly and easily if it is found to be using unfair labor practices. Amazon will also email its warehouse employees with information on their rights, and must post workers' rights notices in all of its U.S. operations and on its employee app. The company will also allow its employees to organize within its facilities and eliminate its 15-minute rule, in which employees were not allowed to be in areas like break rooms or parking lots until 15 minutes before or after their shift.
With around 750,000 U.S. warehouse employees in Amazon's workforce, the settlement reaches one of the largest groups of workers in the agency's history, according to The New York Times.
The settlement came from six reports from Amazon workers in its Chicago and Staten Island, New York, facilities that claimed the company limited their ability to organize. It also follows the NLRB ordering the company to allow its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse workers to participate in a second union election after allegations that the Amazon tried to coerce warehouse workers to vote against unionizing in its first election.
Amazon and the NLRB have been at odds throughout the pandemic as the company faces more and more scrutiny over its treatment of workers. According to a NLRB case database, more than 75 cases citing Amazon's unfair labor practices have been filed since the start of the pandemic. The company is also facing the ire of lawmakers after a tornado destroyed an Edwardsville, Illinois, Amazon warehouse earlier this month, killing six people.