Amazon settles with workers it fired
Amazon has settled a dispute with two workers that the National Labor Relations Board said were fired for their activism. In April 2020, the company fired Emily Cunningham and Maran Costa after they protested against Amazon’s work with oil and gas companies, as well as raised concerns about the company’s coronavirus measures in its warehouses. In a joint statement, Costa and Cunningham said the company must pay them lost wages as well as inform employees that they cannot be fired for the event. They haven’t mentioned whether they will get their jobs back as UX designers.
At the time of the NLRB’s decision, Amazon said it disagreed with the findings, and Costa and Cunningham were fired for violating internal policies. The NLRB’s decisions do not carry the weight of decisions handed down by federal judges, but the Labor Relations Board can argue for the legal system that its orders should be enforced. Often, however, both sides will settle as we saw today.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but reported CNBC That it and the employees had “reached a mutual agreement that addresses the legal issues in this matter and welcomes the resolution of this matter.” Costa and Cunningham called the agreement “a victory for protecting workers’ rights”.
Amazon faces several more NLRB complaints, and the NLRB issued a preliminary assessment in August that the company illegally interfered with the highly publicized warehouse union drive in Bessemer, Alabama. That matter is still open.
Amazon is already required to post notices to inform workers about their labor rights because of previous settlements, so this isn’t a new win for organizers or activists. Some employees have argued that the settlement and the NLRB’s decisions are not of sufficient consequence for Amazon to reverse retaliatory behavior towards its employees.
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