News & Commentary

February 1, 2023

Sarah Leadem

Sarah Leadem is a joint degree candidate at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

In today’s News and Commentary, an administrative law judge rules that Amazon violated labor law and HuffPost workers announce readiness to strike.

An administrative law judge ruled yesterday that Amazon violated labor law in the build-up to union elections at “JFK8.” Workers at JFK8 Amazon Fulfillment Center in Staten Island voted to join the Amazon Labor Union last April, making it the first union at Amazon. Despite challenges from Amazon against the election results, the NLRB upheld the election as valid earlier this month.  

Yesterday, administrative law judge Benjamin W. Green ruled on allegations that Amazon violated labor laws ahead of the election and ruled in favor of the union on two counts. The judge dismissed several other charges. First, Judge Green found that Amazon supervisors illegally threatened to withhold pay and benefit increases to workers if they voted to unionize. Second, Amazon illegally removed a pro-union post on an internal digital messaging board. The judge dismissed several other charges, including allegations that Amazon suggested to employees that pay and other employer-provided benefits would not carry on if workers unionized. Find Judge Green’s decision here. Amazon can appeal the decision to the NLRB. 

Workers at HuffPost have vowed to strike if a deal is not reached with parent company, BuzzFeed. The HuffPost Union is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). WGAE made the strike readiness announcement Monday night. In a statement delivered to management at the bargaining table, the HuffPost Union demanded competitive compensation, severance, health and safety provisions in light of the ongoing occupational risk of COVID-19, and improved benefits. The union and Buzzfeed management were set to conclude two-day negotiations last night. HuffPost workers won their union in 2016 and signed their first contract in 2017. The union is now bargaining for its second contract. The HuffPoint Union emerged as part of a record wave of unionization within journalism in the last decade. In the last decade, the industry has seen 200 union drives. One in six journalists are now part of a union.

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