The National Labor Relations Committee (NLRB) has found that Amazon illegally fired former worker Daequan Smith for trying to unite his warehouses on Staten Island in New York. Smith, who was one of the organizers for the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), was released in October 2021, the group filed a complaint with the NLRB about unfair work practices following his dismissal, accusing the company of unlawful dismissal in retaliation for Smith’s open support for union association. Now, according to Bloomberg, the committee has found justification in the group’s allegations and plans to file a formal complaint against the e-commerce giant if the case is not resolved.
The Amazon Labor Union is made up of former and current workers of the company and is an independent group not affiliated with the major national unions. While the group failed to unite Amazon’s fulfillment centers on Staten Island last year, it did re-applied with the NLRB in December – a hearing on the request is scheduled for next month.
Smith was not the only ALU organizer fired by Amazon. ALU President Chris Smalls also lost his job after holding an exit at Amazon’s JFK8 facility due to the actions of e-commerce security giant COVID-19 in warehouse 2020. Amazon then explained that Smalls “received several warnings for violating social security guidelines distancing. “
The company was adamant against the union and once said so Engadget in a statement that he does not “think that unions are the best answer for [its] employees. “He added:” Every day we empower people to find ways to improve their work, and when they do, we want to make those changes – quickly. That kind of continuous improvement is harder to report quickly and deftly with unions in the middle. ”After achieving a deal with the NLRB However, in December, Amazon agreed to inform workers that they have a legal right to join a union, form or assist a union through notices posted in the workplace, as well as on its mobile app and internal website.
As Bloomberg explains, the NLRB lodges complaints with agency judges if it deems the workers’ demands justified. The committee’s chief prosecutor, Jennifer Abruzzo, said one would “aggressively” seek injunctions to get illegally fired employees back to work. ALU Vice President Derrick Palmer, who was punished by Amazon for joining the Smalls protest against COVID-19, said Smith’s return to work would be a great support to the group: “It would be monumental for him to return to the same building where he was removed from speak your truth and let the workers know that it is right to speak. “
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