Labor settlement ends Amazon’s “15-minute rule,” letting workers stay on-site for union organizing

An Amazon fulfillment center in Spokane, Wash. (GeekWire File Photo)

A settlement between Amazon and the National Labor Relations Board will end a company policy that prevented workers from remaining in a non-working area of an Amazon facility for more than 15 minutes beyond their shifts.

The settlement, obtained and first reported by the New York Times through a public records request, promises to create a more favorable environment for union organizing at the company’s U.S. facilities, allowing employees to gather together in parking lots or other exterior common areas for longer periods before or after work.

It comes amid new signs of union activity at Amazon’s facilities. For example, workers at Amazon’s Staten Island, N.Y., fulfillment center this week refiled their application to hold a union vote.

Separately, the National Labor Relations Board has ordered a new union election at an Amazon fulfillment warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., after an NLRB hearing officer ruled that Amazon improperly pressured Bessemer warehouse workers against unionizing the warehouse. Workers there voted against a union earlier this year.

The new settlement addresses six cases filed by Amazon workers. It requires Amazon to email a notice about the policy change to anyone who as worked at the company’s facilities since March 22 of this year. Amazon also must post the notice at its facilities, and include a copy in its A to Z employee app and website.

Amazon hasn’t commented publicly on the settlement.

Here’s a copy of the settlement agreement, as obtained by the New York Times, including the planned notice to current and former Amazon workers.

NLRB Amazon Settlement by GeekWire on Scribd

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