Amazon, the major shipping company, has been accused of engaging in unfair labor practices in its attempts to prevent the formation of unions at its workplaces. Among the major practices it has been accused of is the controversial use of “captive audience meetings” to discourage labor organizing. If challenges against the policy are ruled to be unlawful, it could have a severe impact on companies attempting to thwart unionization across the country.
What Are Captive Audience Meetings?
Captive audience meetings are the term for meetings conducted by employers during business hours to discourage employees from engaging in labor organizing activities. During these meetings, employees are subjected to anti-union messaging that is intended to make labor organizing look bad, and to encourage people not to participate in unionization efforts. These meetings get their name because employees are a “captive audience,” unable to leave or avoid attending without risking professional consequences.
Are These Types of Meetings Legal?
Captive audience meetings have long been a controversial practice, but current precedent considers them to be generally legal. Because of the precedent behind captive audience meetings, they are a preferred tactic of companies looking to hinder labor organizing at their business. Amazon, in particular, seems to have used these meetings as a means of damaging efforts to organize their workforce.
Why Are Labor Organizers Suing Over This?
Captive audience meetings are just one of many unfair labor practices that labor organizers have accused Amazon of participating in. What makes this complaint noteworthy, however, is that some legal analysts believe that the current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the body that regulates labor organizing and unionization, might go along with an argument against captive audience meetings. That would be a substantial break with existing precedent, and potentially take away an important tool often used by anti-union activists.
What Could Be the Potential Effect of a Ruling?
If the NLRB were to rule that the use of captive audience meetings was an unfair labor practice, it would be a significant blow against businesses that use them to hinder labor organizing. Amazon is just one of many businesses that take advantage of their power over employees to subject them to anti-union messaging. Without the ability to guarantee a captive audience, their ability to directly dissuade people from unionizing would be significantly hindered.
If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 40 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000 or visit his contact page.