Amazon CEO Andy Jassy broke federal law with anti-union statements

A judge found Thursday that Amazon CEO Andy Jassy broke federal law when he told employees they would be less empowered if they voted to join a union, among other anti-union comments given in interviews with CNBC, Bloomberg and The New York Times in 2022.

The NLRB filed the complaint against Amazon and Jassy in October 2022. In his ruling Wednesday, Gee said Jassy's other comments that unionization would change workers' relationship with their employer were lawful. But the Amazon chief's other remarks that employees would be less empowered and "better off" without a union violated labor law, "because they went beyond merely commenting on the employee-employer relationship."

Amazon spokesperson Mary Kate Paradis said in a statement that the company disagrees with the NLRB's ruling and that it intends to appeal.

"The decision reflects poorly on the state of free speech rights today, and we remain optimistic that we will be able to continue to engage in a reasonable discussion on these issues where all perspectives have an opportunity to be heard," Paradis said.

It's interesting that Paradis poses union-busting as free speech, because U.S. employers enjoy a nearly unique latitude to do exactly that—including disallowing union literature and discussion in the workplace and forcing employees to endure lectures, videos and other presentations warning them not to unionize. They have had all the advantages of this for so long and yet unions are resurgent—quite a sign of the times! And it's not as if there are consequences: the judge told Amazon not to do it again.

Previously: Amazon is using Pinkertons for union-busting surveillance