Amazon CEO Andy Jassy violated federal labor law with anti-union statements

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy violated federal labor law together with his comments to the media concerning the company's unionization efforts, a National Labor Relations Board judge ruled Wednesday.

NLRB Administrative Law Judge Brian Gee cited interviews Jassy gave in 2022 to CNBC's “Squawk Box,” Bloomberg Television and on the New York Times' DealBook conference. The interviews coincided with a surge in unionization campaigns at Amazon's warehouse and delivery operations.

Jassy told CNBC in April 2022 that if staff voted in a union, they could have less influence within the workplace and things would develop into “much slower” and “more bureaucratic.” Similarly, Jassy noted within the Bloomberg interview: “If you have something at stake that you think could be better for your team, you or your customers, you can't just go to your manager and say, 'Leave it change us.' '”

At the DealBook conference, Jassy said that without a union, the workplace is not “bureaucratic and it is not slow.”

Gee said the comments “threaten employees that in the event that they selected to unionize, they might lose their power and have a harder time getting things done quickly.”

The NLRB filed the complaint against Amazon and Jassy in October 2022. In his ruling Wednesday, Gee said Jassy's other comments that unionization would change workers' relationship with their employer were lawful. But the Amazon boss's other statements, that workers would be less empowered and “higher off” without a union, violated labor law “because they went beyond mere commentary on the employee-employer relationship.”

Amazon spokeswoman Mary Kate Paradis said in a statement that the company disagrees with the NLRB's decision and plans to appeal.

“The decision reflects poorly on the state of freedom of expression today, and we remain optimistic that we can continue to have a rational discussion on these issues in which all perspectives are heard,” Paradis said.

The judge recommends ordering Amazon to stop making such comments in the future and requiring the company to publish and distribute a notice of the order to employees nationwide.

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