NEW YORK, Feb 1, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - A US administrative judge has ruled that Amazon broke labor laws by threatening to withhold wage and benefits increases from employees at two New York warehouses if they voted to unionize.
The judge, in his decision dated Monday, found that company officials had illegally suggested that unionized employees would have their pay frozen during labor talks while non-unionized employees would receive raises and new benefits.
He ordered Amazon to post signs in the warehouses reminding employees that they have the right to engage in collective bargaining and stating that the company would not make similar threats again.
The charges were heard by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
The judge dismissed several other charges, including claims that company officials threatened to reduce wages to pay union dues.
"We're glad that the judge dismissed 19 -- nearly all -- of the allegations in this case and correctly called the 3 remaining ones 'not obvious or clear cut,'" an Amazon spokesperson told AFP.
"The facts continue to show that the teams in our buildings work hard to do the right thing, and that most of the claims pushed by outside groups with an agenda are without merit."
The employees of the JFK8 site, located in the Staten Island borough of New York City, voted to join the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) in March 2022, marking the first time Amazon employees in the United States unionized.
The ALU then failed a few weeks later to convince the employees of the LDJ5 warehouse, located across the street, to also sign up.
Amazon challenged the ALU's initial victory, filing objections with the NLRB.
The NLRB rejected its arguments and validated the vote in early January, saying that Amazon must now "bargain in good faith.
Amazon indicated that it would appeal.