Federal Labor Agency says Amazon illegally fired climate activists

Federal labor regulators have found that Amazon illegally returned two of the most vocal critics of its climate and practices in the workplace. Former employees Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa were fired last year for repeatedly violating internal Amazon policies that prohibit workers from publicly discussing the company without formal approval. This decision prompted the National Labor Relations Council to launch an investigation by claiming that Amazon retaliates against employees who organize or participate in protests. According to correspondence shared by Cunningham with The New York Times, the labor agency considered Amazon’s layoffs to be illegal. He also said he would accuse the company of unfair labor practices if he did not resolve the case with the two former workers.

The high-profile Cunningham and Costa case gained national attention after criticizing the retailer for its climate policies last year in a video shared by Bernie Sanders. They then amplified their protests to denounce the working conditions of the company during the pandemic. The two activists were fired by Amazon last April for repeatedly violating internal policies prohibiting public disparagement or misrepresenting the company – a claim Amazon repeated in its statement today. Times.

“We support the right of every employee to criticize their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with complete immunity from our internal policies, which are all legal,” said Jaci Anderson, an Amazon spokesperson. . “We fired these employees not for speaking publicly about working conditions, safety or sustainability, but rather for repeatedly violating internal policies.”

Cunningham presented the Labor Relations Board decision as a “moral victory” which proved that “we are on the right side of history and on the right side of the law”. The agency has seen complaints of Amazon’s interference in workers’ rights to organize more than triple during the pandemic, according to a recent NBC News report. Suggesting that the saga is far from over, the labor relations commission is now considering launching a national investigation into the practices, despite generally investigating the charges on a regional basis.

The agency also confirmed a complaint about labor activist Jonathan Bailey, who accused Amazon of breaking the law when questioning him following a walkout he organized last year in a Queens warehouse. Amazon settled in with Bailey last month and had to post a notice to employees reminding them of their right to organize.

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