One day after President Joe Biden publicly supported Amazon’s first warehouse unionizing, the National Labor Relations Board general counsel announced Thursday that she’ll ask the country’s federal labor agency to make a radical change to the lives of workers attempting to unionize. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s memo will deem captive audience meetings as a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Biden Administration, for whatever its shortcomings, is actively supporting unions.
This is huge news from the independent federal agency charged with protecting workers’ rights! Captive audience meetings and other mandatory-attendance meetings are the bread and butter of the anti-union/union-busting campaigns waged by management against their workers. It requires workers to be present and listen to false anti-union propaganda, like “a union may be right for some workplaces but not ours” or “a union is an outside organization that will change our family.”
The memo states that previous interpretations of the NLRA were incorrect when it found mandatory-attendance meetings where anti-union pleas are made are in line with labor law. “I believe that the NLRB case precedent, which has tolerated such meetings, is at odds with fundamental labor-law principles, our statutory language, and our Congressional mandate. Because of this, I plan to urge the Board to reconsider such precedent and find mandatory meetings of this sort unlawful,” the memo states.
This is the latest move in the Biden administration’s pro-worker phase of life. Biden dipped his toes into the water of supporting workers in February with his tepid statement about the “vitally important choice” of workers across the country considering unions. When it was clear that the Amazon Labor Union won its recognition battle in Staten Island, NY, last week, Biden decided to sweeten his support in a Wednesday speech to the North America’s Building Trades Unions annual national conference. “The choice to join a union belongs to workers alone. By the way, Amazon, here we come. Watch.”
This is a delightful change of pace for a Democratic administration! The previous one had a number of employees go work for Amazon on the corporate level, so we love to see the president giving his support to some of that corporation’s lowest workers. I can’t wait to see what part of labor law the administration will start to enforce next!