Amazon is facing a lawsuit in federal court from the National Labor Relations Board. The watchdog asked the judge to issue an order forcing Amazon to return the work to labor activist Gerald Bryson. Amazon fired Bryson in April 2020, according to the NLRB, which was a clear case of Amazon retaliation against him for protesting unsafe working conditions at their JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, NY.
According to the NLRB, the Section 10(j) order it is pursuing is intended to temporarily create an appropriate situation where a court case may take too long to resolve the alleged matter. In this case, Bryson struggled to get his job back for almost two years, based on New York Times. The NLRB petition (which you can read in its entirety below) argues that other employees may be afraid to speak up if Bryson is not reinstated, because they see Bryson’s firing as a message from Amazon. its employees. That is especially relevant today, as workers at the JFK8 warehouse are vote on the merger starting next Friday, March 25.
In an emailed statement The VergeNLRB Regional Director Kathy Drew King said:
We are seeking an order in the District Court to immediately reinstate an employee who was unlawfully fired by Amazon for exercising his Section 7 rights. We are also asking the Court to order a mandatory meeting at JFK8 with all employees at which Amazon will read the notice of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. No matter how large an employer, it’s important for workers to know their rights – especially during union elections – and that the NLRB will speak up for them.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For Bryson, the process was frustrating. In a conversation with The Verge, he says that the systems against big corporations like Amazon are outdated and need to be rebuilt — “those places are made for the less-combat, but we can’t. It’s like we’re told “hey, this is a boxing ring, but you’re not going to get any gloves.” He also said that he was very disappointed when he saw Amazon handling other cases raised by employees while he was being manipulated.
“This is not a trial where someone sues me; this is my life,” he said, talking about his struggles when faced with being a single father. Despite that disappointment, Bryson said he “fought to the end. And hopefully make a difference for other people” working at Amazon.
Bryson said he’s one of the leaders of the Amazon Labor Federation, which leads the consolidation efforts at the JFK8 warehouse where Bryson used to work. ALU also joined efforts at another Amazon Staten Island facility, LDJ5, where organizers received the continuation to continue unionization efforts. The process of deciding on election details is ongoing. The union led by Christian Smalls, another worker was fired by Amazon.
Based on New York TimesAmazon said it fired Bryson after he got into a heated argument with another warehouse worker while participating in a protest, which the company said was a clear case of bullying and threaten.
Bryson says the company has a zero-tolerance policy for scuffles, meaning that if two employees get into a fight, it’s company policy to fire both of them. He also denied starting an argument and said he had submitted video evidence proving it to the court.
Bryson was “the face of the movement organizing to improve COVID-19 health and safety practices at the JFK8 Facility” before Amazon fired him, according to the NLRB’s petition. Company face to face severely criticized from workers to how it handles the pandemic at JFK8 and similar facilities, and the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit last yearalleging that the company failed to protect its workers from COVID.
Amazon has faced other lawsuits from the NLRB over its actions at Staten Island facilities in the consolidation effort. In a complaint filed earlier this year, the labor watchdog accused the company of “intimidating, surveying and interrogating” employees. The lawsuit alleges that security staff at the warehouses confiscated union documents from the organizers, calling the organizers “thugs” and promising to deal with employee problems on their own. members if they refuse to cooperate.
In December, NLRB reached an agreement with Amazon requires companies to notify workers of their right to organize via email, messages on internal apps and websites, as well as physical posted signs. While these announcements are a step forward, the hands-on meeting that the NLRB is proposing (which will also involve posting written notices) is likely to attract significantly more staff attention. In the settlement, Amazon also agreed to let employees arrange company assets outside of their working hours, something they were previously not allowed to do.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/17/22983692/nlrb-amazon-labor-activism-gerald-bryson-jfk8-warehouse-injunction NLRB is suing Amazon to get a fired activist’s job back