Amazon settled with two of its most prominent internal critics, preventing a public hearing on allegations that the company unlawfully fired the pair, its attorneys said. the parties told an administrative judge on Wednesday.
Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Former employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, said they were fired last year because they had publicly pushed the company to reduce its impact on climate change and address concerns about workers. storehouse. Amazon still insists that former employees repeatedly break internal policies.
The deal was reached at a tense time for Amazon, which has pledged to be “Earth’s best employer” and is looking, in a tight labor market, to hire 40,000 workers. company and technology and 125,000 warehouse workers in the United States.
In 2018, Ms. Costa and Ms. Cunningham, who worked as designers at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, were part of a small group of employees that publicly pushed the company to do more to make address the impact of climate. They turned their efforts into one organization, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, and helped engage more than 8,700 Amazon colleagues to support their efforts.
Over time, Ms Cunningham and Ms Costa expanded their rallies. After Amazon told them it violated its external communications policy by speaking publicly about the business, its team organized 400 employees to speak out, intentionally violating this policy to make a point. .
At the start of the pandemic, they announced an internal event for warehouse workers to talk to tech workers about safe conditions in their workplaces. Soon after, Amazon fired both women. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, wrote Amazon expressed concern about potential retaliation, and Tim Bray, an internet pioneer and former vice president of Amazon’s cloud computing group Amazon, resigned in protest.
This spring, lawyers for the National Labor Relations Board said they found merit in Ms Costa and Ms Cunningham’s allegations that they were fired in retaliation for their organisation. The agency’s Seattle office subsequently sued Amazon, saying that the company “selects and specifically enforces neutral and neutral External Engagement and Communication policies to limit employees.” members participating in protected, coordinated activities”.
The hearing was scheduled to begin Tuesday morning, but was delayed as the parties were working on a settlement.
This case is one of many the company has had with the labor council since the pandemic began. Most obviously, in August an NLRB hearing officer recommended that the agency hold a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., finding that Amazon’s conduct interfered interfere with the laboratory conditions necessary to conduct a fair election. Amazon denies any interference and has vowed to appeal if the labor council’s regional office agrees to the recommendation and formally overturns the election, which rejected the union.