US court nixes order barring Amazon from firing pro-union workers

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By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) -A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday tossed out a judge’s order that required Amazon.com to refrain from firing union supporters amid a nationwide organizing campaign at its warehouses.

A three-judge panel of the Manhattan-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the judge who issued the order last year at the request of the National Labor Relations Board failed to explain why such a sweeping mandate was necessary.

The labor board sought the order after Amazon in 2020 fired Gerald Bryson, a union organizer at a warehouse in Staten Island, for making profane comments to a coworker during a protest over an alleged lack of safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The warehouse, known as JFK8, in 2022 became the first Amazon facility to unionize.

U.S. District Judge Diane Gujarati in Brooklyn ruled that Bryson’s firing violated his rights under U.S. labor law and barred Amazon from terminating other union supporters. But the judge refused to order Amazon to reinstate Bryson, saying there was no evidence that his firing deterred other workers from unionizing.

The 2nd Circuit on Wednesday said the requirement that Amazon not fire other workers was unnecessary if there was no evidence that Bryson’s firing had a broader impact.

(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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