Amazon stopped off-duty warehouse workers from entering the company’s facilities, move organizers fear will have an effect unionization efforts.
Staff are prohibited from entering buildings or other working locations on their regular days off, as well as before or after their shifts, according to the regulation communicated with employees via Amazon’s internal app.
The regulation, according to an Amazon spokesman, does not prevent off-duty staff from conversing with their co-workers in “non-working places” outside of the company’s premises.
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said: “There’s nothing more important than the safety of our employees and the physical security of our buildings.”
“This policy regarding building access applies to building interiors and working areas. It does not limit employee access to non-working areas outside of our facilities.”
The off-duty restriction “shall not be implemented discriminatorily” against workers who are seeking union representation, according to the notification of the revised policy, issued Thursday, June 30.
However, organizers say the ruling means it will be more difficult for them to win over co-workers to the unionization cause.
Reverend Ryan Brown, an Amazon warehouse worker in Garner, North Carolina, said: “On our days off, we come to work and we engage our co-workers in the break rooms.
Rev Brown is aiming to organize his workplace following the labor victory on Staten Island, New York, where Amazon warehouse workers voted to unionize in April.
He said: “This was a direct response to that, to try to stop organizing by any means necessary.
Amazon, located in Seattle, formerly prohibited employees from entering non-working areas for more than 15 minutes before or after their hours.
The company rescinded that policy in December when it entered a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board to allow workers to organize more freely.
Amazon also agreed to give workers a heads up in the event it chose to “reinstate a lawful rule regarding off-duty employee access” to its facilities.
A spokesperson with the NLRB declined to comment on the company’s new policy.
In the notice sent to employees, Amazon said it strived to create a safe environment for employees
“One part of this is knowing who is in our buildings at any given time, so we can quickly find and account for everyone in the event of an emergency,” the notice said.