Amazon spent $14 million on union-busting consultants in 2022

Amazon spent over $14.2 million last year on outside consultants whose job it was to convince workers not to unionize, according to new information filed Friday with the Labor Department.

Unusually high spending on union-busting consultants shows just how determined the online retail giant is to prevent collective bargaining among its workforce. The company remained unorganized in the United States until last year, when the fledgling Amazon Labor Union (ALU) successfully organized a warehouse in Staten Island, New York.

Amazon has more than 100 warehouses in the United States and has been able to keep unions at bay from the ALU upset victory last April. However, workers rejected union offers at two other New York warehouses after the Staten Island vote.

Union consultants have played a key role in the company’s counter-campaign, delivering anti-union talking points in so-called “captive audience” meetings with workers. The company pays companies about $3,000 a day, plus expenses, for each consultant, according to filings.

“Amazon managed to stay ununionized in the United States until last year, when Amazon’s fledgling union organized a warehouse on Staten Island.”

Employers and their consultants are required to disclose their agreements with the Labor Department so workers know who the company hired and how much it paid to pressure them into unionization. The deadline for employers to notify the government of their 2022 spending was Friday.

It’s relatively rare for a company to disclose spending more than $1 million for labor consultants in a single year, let alone more than $14 million. Still, Amazon has around 1.5 million employees worldwide and earned $514 billion in revenue last year, according to its latest annual report. The company faced organizing drives in Alabama, New York, California and elsewhere in the United States.

Amazon spent $4.3 million on union-busting consultants in 2021, HuffPost reported.

Workers at Amazon’s West Coast Air Freight Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino, California demonstrate outside the facility on October 14, 2022 over allegations of an unsafe work environment and low wages.

FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

Connor Spence, a Staten Island Amazon worker and ALU organizer, told HuffPost last year that he and other workers sought out the union-busting consultants in their warehouse to expose them and their fees to d other workers. They too openly disputed consultants in meetings to undermine their message.

“Their job is to operate in the shadows,” Spence said at the time. “When you expose them for who they are, it’s very difficult for them to do their job.”

The ALU is still trying to negotiate an initial contract with Amazon for workers at the Staten Island plant, known as JFK8. Additionally, Amazon challenged the results of the election, in which the union won 2,654 votes to 2,131, accusing organizers and the National Labor Relations Board of illegally tainting the vote.

Amazon’s challenge ultimately failed, and the union was formalized in January. But the business continues managed to waste time and avoid bargaining with the union for nearly nine months.


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