Amazon facing formal complaint from labor board over worker firing

The National Labor Relations Board is preparing to issue a complaint against Amazon alleging the company illegally fired a worker at one of its New York warehouses, unless the company settles the case first. At issue is whether Daequan Smith, an organizer with the newly-formed Amazon Labor Union (ALU), was fired for trying to organize.

As first reported by Bloomberg, NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado confirmed Friday that the agency’s regional director Kathy Drew King determined allegations by the ALU that Smith was fired illegally had merit and would issue a complaint if the case doesn’t settle. “The complaint would allege a discharge because of union and other protected concerted activities, among other allegations,” Blado said.

Amazon didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment from The Verge.

The ALU Is awaiting a hearing on its petition to hold a union election at four of Amazon’s warehouses in Staten Island. Smith was a worker at one of the Staten Island warehouses, and the ALU tweeted Friday that since his firing, Smith has been left homeless. The NLRB has the authority to reinstate workers fired for organizing, but it’s not yet clear whether it would do so in this case.

The NLRB ordered Amazon to redo a union election at its warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, after finding the company interfered in the first election in April 2021. That redo, which will be carried out by mail and supervised by the NLRB, begins February 4th.

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