The Supply Chain Matters blog returns from a brief Christmas holiday publishing pause with an Amazon development that occurred just prior to our pause.

Online retail platform provider Amazon reached a settlement with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding practices related to workers that might engage in labor union organizing activities among the online retailer’s facilities.

This agreement, initially reported by the New York Times, has since been picked up by other publications including The Washington Post.

The report indicates that: “Under the settlement, made final on Wednesday, Amazon said it would email past and current warehouse workers — likely more than one million people — with notifications of their rights and give them greater flexibility to organize in its buildings. The agreement also makes it easier and faster for the N.L.R.B., which investigates claims of unfair labor practices, to sue Amazon if it believes the company violated the terms.”  According to the Times report, the agreement stemmed from six cases of Amazon workers who indicated to the NLRB in testimony that the company limited their ability to organize colleagues.

Reportedly, Amazon had not responded to a request for comment by the New York Times and The Washington Post.

This development further follows a ruling in early December by a regional official of the NLRB which ordered a new labor union adoption election for the Amazon Bessemer Alabama customer fulfillment warehouse. The ruling was a response to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s formal objection of the April election that alleged that Amazon had jeopardized a fair election in its actions to have the U.S. Postal Service install a mail collection box at the warehouse in view of site security cameras. Reportedly, six cases led to Amazon’s settlement with the agency, including workers in Chicago and Staten Island, New York, each indicating that the company prohibited them from being in areas like a break room or parking lot until within 15 minutes before or after their shifts, hampering any union organizing.

The newly appointed labor counsel of the NLRB indicated to the Times that: “This settlement agreement provides a crucial commitment from Amazon to millions of its workers across the United States that it will not interfere with their right to act collectively to improve their workplace by forming a union or taking other collective action.

Both reports indicate that the settlement requires Amazon to post notices in all of its U.S. operations and on the employee app, called A to Z, and must also email every person who has worked in its operations since March 2021.

 

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