Amazon accused of using posters, text messages to interfere with Montreal union drive
A major labour union in Quebec is calling recent action by the management of an Amazon warehouse in Montreal “tactics of intimidation and harassment” that interfere with a recently launched unionization campaign.
The Confédérations des syndicats nationaux said its legal department sent the company two lawyer’s letters — on May 20th and June 2nd — over alleged breaches of labour rights.
Federation vice-president David Bergeron-Cyr says Amazon’s anti-union messaging is “omnipresent” at the warehouse.
Photos viewed by The Canadian Press of the Montreal warehouse’s employee break room show posters saying “We encourage you to speak for yourself” and “We do not believe that we need a third party between us” plastered on each of the transparent walls that divide the dining tables.
The company has sent text messages — also viewed by The Canadian Press — to employees’ personal phones, telling them they have the right to decide whether to sign a union card or an online petition.
Under Quebec’s Labour Code, an employer has free speech rights but is not allowed to interfere with a unionization campaign, nor is it allowed to issue threats or promises.
Bergeron-Cyr says workers reached out to his labour federation earlier in April and launched an organizing drive, in part, for higher wages, which he said hover around 17- or 18-dollars an hour, while unionized workers in comparable factory jobs in the province make between 26- and 30-dollars an hour.
Several workers, whom The Canadian Press agreed not to identify because they fear repercussions at work, described what they said are Amazon’s clear attempts to prevent unionization.
All spoke of managers’ efforts to separate groups of workers talking about the union and of oral threats to close the warehouse if they unionize.
An Amazon Canada spokeswoman says the company doesn’t think “unions are the best answer for our employees.”
However, she says no person in the organization will ever “force, intimidate, threaten, make promises or unduly influence” employees’ decision to join a union, or not join a union.
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