United States of America


Systematic violations of rights

Same as last year


Workers' rights violations

Union busting

In the United States of America, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) demanded that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz apologise personally to workers for union-busting tactics. The NLRB found in a complaint filed on 24 August 2022 that the company was unlawfully withholding benefits from employees in unionised or unionising stores. Starbucks’ CEO threatened employees and told them it would be “futile” to side with the union on several occasions, including during a video call to all US employees.

Since late 2021, more than 230 locations have joined Starbucks Workers United, in a massive wave of organising efforts across the country. The company has been accused of blatant union-busting tactics on multiple occasions, including in June 2022, when a Starbucks store in Ithaca was closed down less than two months after its staff voted to unionise.

Union busting

In the United States of America, a group of workers at an Amazon air freight hub in San Bernardino, which has been pushing for a US$5/hour pay increase and more robust safety measures, filed a complaint for unfair labour practices with the National Labor Relations Board on 13 October 2022.

The group, which calls itself Inland Empire Amazon Workers United, indicated in its complaint that the company threatened an employee and ultimately terminated his employment in retaliation for activities including signing a petition for a wage increase, soliciting co-worker signatures, distributing literature, wearing a sticker in support of the wage increase, and participating in a walkout. Amazon has also interrogated employees about their union-related activities, issued write-ups to other employees in retaliation for wearing stickers in support of the wage increase, and surveilled workers engaged in organising.

Dozens of Amazon workers at the air freight hub walked off the job on 14 October to protest what they described in a statement as a “shameful” response by the company to their ongoing push for higher pay. The e-commerce giant had brought anti-union labour consultants into their facility in previous months, contributing to a perception among workers that they were being watched and could face retaliation for speaking out to improve workplace conditions.

On 14 October, the company scanned the badges of workers who were entering and exiting the facility around the time of the planned walkout, looking to collect names of workers who participated in the protest.

Earlier that same month, Amazon suspended at least 50 workers employed in one of its facilities in Staten Island.

Workers’ rights in law

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