Federal labor company says Amazon illegally fired local weather activists


Federal labor regulators have discovered that Amazon illegally fired two of probably the most outspoken critics of its local weather and office practices. Former staff Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa have been let go final yr for repeatedly violating Amazon’s inner insurance policies that forbid staff from discussing the corporate publicly with out formal approval. The choice prompted the Nationwide Labor Relations Board to begin an inquiry into claims that Amazon was retaliating towards staff who manage or take part in protests. In keeping with correspondence shared by Cunningham with The New York Occasions, the labor company has deemed Amazon’s firings as unlawful. It additionally stated that it will accuse the corporate of unfair labor practices if it didn’t settle the case with the 2 former staff.

Cunningham and Costa’s high-profile case gained nationwide consideration after they lambasted the retailer for its local weather insurance policies final yr in a video shared by Bernie Sanders. They later amplified their protests to talk out towards the corporate’s office situations in the course of the pandemic. The 2 activists have been fired by Amazon final April for repeatedly violating inner insurance policies that prohibit public disparagement or misrepresentation of the corporate — a declare Amazon repeated as we speak in its assertion to the Occasions.

“We assist each worker’s proper to criticize their employer’s working situations, however that doesn’t include blanket immunity towards our inner insurance policies, all of that are lawful,” stated Jaci Anderson, an Amazon spokeswoman. “We terminated these staff not for speaking publicly about working situations, security or sustainability however, slightly, for repeatedly violating inner insurance policies.”

Cunningham heralded the labor board’s choice as a “ethical victory” that proved “we’re on the precise facet of historical past and the precise facet of the legislation.” The company has seen complaints towards Amazon’s meddling with staff’ rights to prepare greater than triple in the course of the pandemic, in response to a current NBC Information report. Suggesting that the saga is much from over, the labor board is now contemplating beginning a nationwide investigation into the practices, regardless of sometimes probing expenses on a regional foundation.

The company has additionally upheld a criticism involving labor activist Jonathan Bailey, who accused Amazon for breaking the legislation when it interrogated him following a walkout he staged final yr at a Queens warehouse. Final month, Amazon settled with Bailey and was required to publish a discover to staff reminding them of their proper to prepare.

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