How Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and SpaceX Are Fighting Unions

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Mar 12, 2024

In a recent legal filing, e-commerce giant Amazon slammed the National Labor Relations Board, calling the agency’s practices unconstitutional.

Amazon is not alone in its opinion. Trader Joe’s and SpaceX have also made similar comments about the NLRB in recent months.

Amazon, Trader Joe's, and SpaceX Push Back Against Unions

Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Space X are three of America’s largest companies, and they all have one thing in common: They have recently been engaged in disputes with the National Labor Relations Board.

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A sign outside of the National Labour Relations Board building

Source: Wikipedia

On separate occasions all three companies have said the agency’s practices are unconstitutional.

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Amazon Takes the Fight to the NLRB

In a filing made at the beginning of March, Amazon hit back at a complaint that suggests the company maliciously targeted workers at a New York City warehouse after they voted to unionize, per The Associated Press.

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A large stone building pictured with three large Amazon logos in a city

Source: Wikimedia

Amazon has asked for the complaint to be removed. But their attorneys didn’t stop there.

Amazon Attorneys Call NLRB Unconstitutional

In the filing, Amazon’s attorneys made several complaints of their own, suggesting the structure of the National Labor Relations Board is unconstitutional.

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An attorney is pictured in a grey suit as he reads from his diary

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Their argument was centered on the agency’s practice of allowing the president to appoint all five board members.

NLRB States Amazon Is Trying to Destroy Unionization

According to Seth Goldstein, who represents the Amazon Labor Union, Amazon is trying to eradicate the unionization system.

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A workers union protest pictured in the middle of a city street

Source: Freepik

“Since they can’t defeat successful union organizing, they now want to just destroy the whole process,” he said, per The Associated Press.

SpaceX Shares Similar View on the NLRB

SpaceX, a company under the command of Elon Musk, has also made bold comments against the union board in recent months.

A photograph of the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne, California

Source: Wikipedia

According to The Guardian, SpaceX filed a lawsuit against the NLRB in January, claiming that the board engages in several unconstitutional practices.

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Musk Accused of Wrongfully Firing Seven Employees

Elon Musk’s attorney, Morgan Lewis, filed the claim after the NLRB issued a complaint to Musk over the recent firing of several employees.

Elon Musk pictured wearing a t-shirt as he speaks into a microphone

Source: Wikipedia

According to the complaint, Musk fired seven employees after they wrote a strongly worded letter mentioning several concerns about the SpaceX founder’s behavior.

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Trader Joe's Calls the Board Unconstitutional

Trader Joe’s also spoke out against the board in January, calling the NLRB and the agency’s structure unconstitutional.

An image of a Trader Joe's store in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Source: Wikipedia

This came after allegations were brought against the retail giant, suggesting that it unfairly retailed against recent unionism attempts.

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Trader Joe’s Files for Trademark Infringement

Companies are not just targeting the NLRB. Recently, Trader Joe’s filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against its workers’ union.

A judge is pictured standing at a desk as he holds his wooden hammer

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However, a federal judge in California threw out the claim. Starbucks brought a similar case against the Starbucks Workers’ Union.

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Companies Exhibit Anti-Union Behavior

In an interview, Goldstein argues that several of America’s largest companies now exhibit anti-union behavior.

Board members of a company are pictured seated at a large white desk during a meeting

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He told The Guardian, “They are really using everything they have to try to stop the new organizing movement.”

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Throwing Out the National Labor Relations Act

“I think there are some dark forces here trying to stop the emerging organizing movement by perhaps throwing out the National Labor Relations Act.”

Five construction workers pictured placing their hands atop one another's on-site

Source: Freepik

Goldstein continued, “Because they know they are losing the union elections and more young people, Gen Z and Millennials, are attracted to unionizing.”

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Trader Joe's Aims to Protect Its Brand

A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s argued the company was simply concerned about its intellectual property. “We will continue to take all appropriate action to protect our brand,” they said.

A photograph of the exterior of a Trader Joe's supermarket in Massachusetts

Source: Wikipedia

As things stand, the war between America’s largest corporations and the NLRB appears set to continue as both sides fight to find common ground.

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