The General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued a memo on Thursday arguing that the widespread employer practice of allowing workers to attend anti-union meetings is illegal under federal law, even though the Labor Board’s premise allows it.
General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, who enforces federal labor law by prosecuting violations, said her office would soon file a brief case in a case before the Labor Board, which decides such questions, asking the board to reverse its hypothesis at meetings. Is.
“This license to force is inconsistent with labor law, which is inconsistent with the protection of free choice of employees under the Act,” Ms. Abruzzo said in a statement referring to the National Labor Relations Act. “I believe that the antecedent of the NLRB case, which has endured such meetings, is in conflict with the basic principles of labor law, our statutory language and the mandate of our Congress.”
In recent months, high-profile employers such as Amazon and Starbucks, who are facing growing union campaigns, have held hundreds of meetings in which they try to persuade workers not to unionize, arguing that the union is a “third party” that manages. Will come in between. And workers.
Amazon officials and advisers have repeatedly told workers at mandatory meetings that they “could end up with more wages and benefits than the union previously had, which could be as much or potentially less than what they had,” according to Amazon’s testimony. The NLRB is holding a hearing on union elections in Alabama last year.
The company spent more than 4 million last year on consultants who attended such meetings and searched for workers on the warehouse floor.
But many workers and union officials complain that these claims are extremely misleading. Federal employees generally earn more than similar non-union employees, and it is highly uncommon for union agreements to result in reduced returns.
Wilma B., who heads the Labor Board headed by President Barack Obama. Liebman said he would probably sympathize with Ms. Could reverse Abruzzo’s argument and his predecessor. But Ms. Libman said it was unclear what the practical implications of the reversal would be, as many employees may no longer feel compelled to attend anti-union meetings.
“People on the fence may be reluctant to attend for fear of retaliation or separation,” she wrote via email.
According to the spokesperson, the regional offices of the board, which Ms. Abruzzo monitors, and is likely to issue complaints against employers at meetings. A union, retail, wholesale and department store union has brought such a case to Bessemer, Ala., Where it has recently helped organize workers seeking to join the Amazon Warehouse. Last week’s vote count showed union supporters narrowly behind union opponents in that election, but the result will depend on a few hundred challenging votes, the status of which will be determined next week.
A Labor Board spokesman said the outcome of the board’s “lead” case at mandatory meetings would be binding on other cases. The case is pending but has not been identified.