The National Labor Relations Board denied Amazon’s request to close a union hearing to the public

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The National Labor Relations Board on Thursday denied a request by Amazon to close a hearing to the public.

Amazon is set to argue before a labor board judge on Monday that the historic union victory at a warehouse in Staten Island should be overturned. Amazon had sought to restrict who could attend the event, which is being held on Zoom.

Amazon files motion to close hearing on union victory to the public

“The Board’s hearings are not secret,” Cornele Overstreet, the NLRB regional director overseeing the hearing, wrote in an order filed Thursday. “Accordingly, preventing the public from viewing its important processes is not an option.”

“That this case has garnered national and international attention from outside parties only further solidifies the importance of allowing public observation, as employees and members of the public can be better informed of the purposes and policies of the Act,” according to the filing.

Amazon, which described the media attention the Staten Island election has received as “unprecedented,” said in its Tuesday filing that it was concerned allowing the public to attend the hearing, as is typical, could taint witnesses.

(Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

“There is no practical way in which the Hearing Officer can effectively police who will be viewing the hearing via the publicly available Zoom invitation — including potential witnesses,” the company’s motion said. “Nor can she control or even know whether unauthorized attendees are photographing or recording the proceedings on personal electronic devices and making those available to others — including potential witnesses.”

Amazon filing outlines plans to fight the New York union vote

But the board director disagreed, writing: “I do not find that the Employer has put forward any compelling reason for departing from the Board’s long-standing policy of holding public hearings.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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