Amazon has reached a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board in six cases, helping to pave the way for workers to unionize as more seek a seat at the bargaining table.
The NLRB shared the settlement Thursday through a Freedom of Information Act request, stating that Amazon must post a notice to its relevant facilities for 60 days. The notice informs employees of their rights to seek collective action and says that Amazon will not "prevent you from exercising the above rights."
Amazon will also have to reach out to affected employees who have worked for the company since March 22 by email with a copy of the notice.
“Whether a company has 10 employees or a million employees, it must abide by the National Labor Relations Act,” NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, said in a statement. “This settlement agreement provides a crucial commitment from Amazon to millions of its workers across the United States that it will not interfere with their right to act collectively to improve their workplace by forming a union or taking other collective action.”
As part of the settlement, Amazon pledges not to retaliate against employees who discuss unionization outside of work facilities or on their own time.
They also promised, in writing, not to "call the police, when you are exercising your right to engage in union or protected concerted activities by talking to your co-workers in exterior nonwork areas during nonwork time."
The settlement will also allow the NLRB's general counsel to use evidence found in its investigation of these cases "for any relevant purpose in the litigation of this or any other case," and makes it easier for Amazon to be sued by the board if the company fails to uphold its end of the deal.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Amazon has seen a wave of workers seeking to unionize in recent years, some of whom have filed charges with the administrative board.
In August, a labor official determined that Amazon violated workers' rights after employees at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse tried to join a union. The union vote failed. But the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union accused Amazon of illegal interference in the election process.
Workers alleged that Amazon actively discouraged voting in favor of unionizing, including holding mandatory meetings about why they should vote against the effort. But the accusation at the core of the complaint alleged that Amazon illegally arranged for a U.S. Postal Service mailbox to be installed in the fulfillment center parking lot during the election.
A ruling from the NLRB regional director in Atlanta with regards to the Bessemer case is pending.
In September, Amazon also settled a case with the NLRB in which two women alleged they were fired for speaking out against company policies on the company’s climate and labor practices. Labor law protects the right of workers to raise issues about their workplace as concerted activity.