Amazon accused of delay tactics in KCVG Air Hub workers’ unfair labor practices case Skip to content

Amazon accused of delay tactics in KCVG Air Hub workers’ unfair labor practices case

Amazon must answer to allegations of union bustling and workplace retaliation in front of the National Labor Relations Board in Cincinnati.

4 min read
(photo by WCPO)

Amazon must answer to allegations of union bustling and workplace retaliation in front of the National Labor Relations Board in Cincinnati.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the NLRB issued a subpoena to Amazon and during that hearing, the lawyers confirmed it was for video of incidents they described as “surveillance” and “interrogation” of Amazon workers.

Workers like Braeden Pierce said on Monday they were ready to testify in front of the NLRB.

“They saw my union activity as a direct threat,” Pierce said.

There’s now a delay as Amazon’s lawyers on Tuesday acknowledged the subpoena from the NLRB, but cited TSA concerns about whether or not they could release the video because of privacy concerns.

In a statement, Travis Lavenski, lawyer for the ALU-KCVG, said:

“Monday, April 22 marked the beginning of the long-awaited National Labor Relations Board trial challenging Amazon’s multi-faceted union-busting campaign at its KCVG facility in Hebron, Kentucky. From the very start of these proceedings, Amazon has shamelessly employed procedural delay tactics in an attempt to dodge accountability for its unlawful anti-union conduct. Rather than respect workers’ legal rights to organize and honor their legal duty to cooperate with today’s court proceedings, Amazon is choosing to stonewall the Labor Board, refusing to turn over subpoenaed evidence and asking for one delay after another. These delay tactics are just another example of how Amazon has sought to use and abuse the law to stave off unionization in its facilities by all means necessary.

With Amazon’s tricks on full display, the media, the public, and the workers whom Amazon is seeking to deny their basic labor rights should ask themselves: what is Amazon trying to hide, and why are they trying to delay the trial? As far as ALU-KCVG is concerned, the answer to such questions are obvious: Amazon will stop at nothing to maintain complete and total dominion over its workforce. Regardless of what Amazon argues today, and what the judge decides, we are confident that Amazon will be held accountable for spying on, harassing, and discriminating against KCVG workers for exercising their legal right to organize a union. Amazon is accused of treating some workers unfairly as they try to unionize at CVG. The complaint uses words like discriminating, interrogation and threatening employees. Even with a delay, Amazon workers believe this hearing will hold the company accountable.”

“There’s kind of this David vs. Goliath story,” said Maite Tapia, a Michigan State University associate professor who has been studying the working conditions and union efforts at various Amazon facilities nationwide. “The warehouses are very much based on surveillance that’s their motive controlling workers essentially.”

Tapia said the allegations at CVG are similar to what she’s heard from other Amazon workers across the country.

“It’s a clear power and balance, so to fight that, there’s a lot of courage needed, and a lot of hard work from the workers,” added Tapia.

“I think definitely we see these types of tactics when there is support and there’s a real possibility of unionizing,” said Andrew Martin, Ohio State University professor of sociology, who has been studying union organizing efforts and strike activity.

Despite some organized labor unions feeling like they have momentum after some recent victories, a Gallup Poll found union worker membership reached an all-time low in 2022, at 10%. Back in 1983, the union membership rate was 20%. A recent Pew Research Poll found with that drop, 54% of adults in the U.S. feel it’s been for the country, with 59% saying it’s bad for working people.

“The question is will these sorts of things sustain union growth we saw during and after the Great Depression, through and after World War II, where we really saw the most dramatic union growth in this country,” Martin said. “Whether or not unions can sort of overcome that disparity in power is something that’s sort of a wait-and-see.”

WCPO 9 News reached out to Amazon for comment and a spokesperson provided this statement:

In response to the KCVG ULP hearing: “Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have. No one at our site has been disciplined for exercising their rights. These allegations are without merit and we look forward to showing that as the legal process continues.” In response to our position on unions: “We favor opportunities for each person to be respected and valued as an individual, and to have their unique voice heard by working directly with our team. The fact is, Amazon already offers what many unions are requesting: safe and inclusive workplaces, competitive pay, benefits on day one, and opportunities for career growth. We look forward to working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.” In response to our solicitation policy: “Our employees have the right to distribute materials to their co-workers as long as it’s not during working time or in working areas.” In response to small group meetings: “These meetings have been legal for over 70 years. Like many other companies, we hold these meetings with our employees because it’s important that everyone understands the facts about joining a union and the election process itself.” In response to surveillance claims: “Our focus is on supporting our teams and delivering for our customers, not monitoring employees. Like most companies, we maintain a level of security within our operations to help keep our employees, buildings, and inventory safe – it would be irresponsible if we didn’t do this. We use technology to help keep our employees safe and to allow them to be more efficient in their jobs.”

Amazon denies all of the allegations saying they are without merit and they look forward to showing that during the legal process.


Written by Bret Buganski for WCPO. Cross-posted from the Link NKY.

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