NLRB Continues Its War on Workplace Speech

The Biden Administration has weaponized the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to fulfill President Joe Biden’s campaign promise to be the “most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” 

To that end, the NLRB has repeatedly used its power to tip the scales toward unions during organizing efforts. The reason is clear as day – union bosses are one of the largest drivers of campaign cash to Democrat coffers, spending $1.8 billion in the 2020 cycle alone. Biden NLRB appointees David Prouty and Gwynne Wilcox were both SEIU attorneys before joining the Board. 

The NLRB has displayed a consistent willingness to distort the truth in pursuit of the agency’s pro-Big Labor mission. Instead of protecting worker freedom, the NLRB is using government power to drive up union membership that has been falling for decades. 

The Board’s overreach continued this week with a new complaint against Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, alleging that Jassy’s recent comments in two public interviews violate federal labor law. The complaint accuses Jassy “…interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed” in the National Labor Relations Act. 

Notably, the complaint does not contain direct quotes from Jassy’s interviews, which you can easily view here and here. One would think that direct quotes – especially from widely available public interviews easily accessible online – would be the minimum standard to accuse an individual of violating labor law. Rather, the complaint paraphrases Jassy’s comments to paint them in a negative light. 

For example, the NLRB’s complaint alleges that Jassy said that ‘it would be more difficult for employees to have a direct relationship with their managers if employees were represented by a union.’ In reality, Jassy said: “I also think people are better off having direct connections with their managers…We get to hear from a lot of people as opposed to it all being filtered through one voice.”

The NLRB has intervened on behalf of the Amazon Labor Union before. Just one week before the unionization vote at Amazon’s JFK8 facility in NYC, the NLRB filed a petition forcing Amazon to rehire an employee that shouted misogynistic obscenities at a female coworker and livestreamed the attack. 

While the ALU prevailed in the JFK8 election, Amazon workers have consistently rejected unionization by substantial margins. Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama voted against unionization twice. Another NYC facility overwhelmingly voted against unionization only weeks after the JFK8 vote. Just over a week ago, Amazon workers voted against unionizing an Albany facility on a nearly 2-1 ratio. 

Time and time again, the NLRB has improperly inserted itself between employers and employees. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memo earlier this year denouncing so-called “captive audience” meetings, where employers meet with their employees and communicate the company’s views on unionization. Abruzzo’s attack on “captive audience” meetings, which are protected by decades of labor law and precedent, is another example of the agency attempting to remake labor law by bureaucratic decree. 

Instead of protecting workers’ rights and freedom of speech in the workplace, the Biden NLRB is overturning decades of precedent to deliver political favors to Big Labor. Congress should rein the runaway NLRB in.