back to article Amazon hopes to avoid labor regulation by simply abolishing national watchdogs

Amazon, currently locked in a legal battle with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the mega-souk's treatment of workers, is arguing the watchdog is unconstitutional. And it's not the only corporation testing that line of reasoning. In a February 15 filing in response to a complaint about Amazon's alleged illegal …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    So who do you support ?

    The poor or the rich, powerful, well connected ?

    I suppose it depends if you are poor or rich.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: So who do you support ?

      Yeah, well it seems that there are a lot more poor than there are rich. Who knows ? It might be important in the long run.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So who do you support ?

        Yes, but in this US context, current indications are that sufficient of the poor will vote for the orange stain next year, and we all know which side he's on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So who do you support ?

      Apparently I'm in the top 3% earners in my country and yet I'm a union representative in the local branch of the US company I'm working for. Doing my best so the lower paid employees get a more fair share where possible. It's not easy.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: So who do you support ?

      I suppose it depends if you are poor or rich.

      No doubt it does for some. But I'm rich, relative to the vast majority of the people in the state I live in (and in the state I lived in prior to that, and the one prior to that, and I support stronger regulation and higher progressive taxes. I find many business practices reprehensible.

      It's possible for people to be motivated by something beyond immediate pecuniary self-interest.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "arguing that the labor agency is unconstitutional"

    Great idea. You have a lot of money, argue that the law is illegal.

    I'm sure that'll work out just fine. Espcially in the land that has the best justice money can buy.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: "arguing that the labor agency is unconstitutional"

      America gave up its "democracy" to embrace "corporatism" a long time ago. This is simply a wonderful example; I'm sure the Faux media group will support Amazon lock, stock & barrel, just you wait for it.

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: "arguing that the labor agency is unconstitutional"

        Smedley Butler complained about the US Marines being used as the enforcement arm of United Fruit in 1935.

        So yes, quite a long time ago.

  3. Lyndication

    In Amazon's ideal future I suppose they will work their staff harder and harder until the bottles of pee pile like mountains in their warehouses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Surely there's someone, somewhere, willing to purchase those!

      1. Andy Non Silver badge

        That really would be taking the piss.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Maybe they can sell them in bulk to Etsy. UPCYCLED PLASTIC BOTTLE AND HUMAN URINE artwork / urea supply many uses convo me for details!

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I must remember not to buy Lucozade from Amazon.

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        or apple juice

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Look, it's not science fiction, there's technology today that allows to fix that problem, /now/.

      It's called a catheter.

      (just had an experience with one, so I can attest that it works !)

      1. Lyndication

        Go whole hog and have your Fulfilment Centre staff servitorised a la Warhammer 40K.

    4. HelpfulJohn Bronze badge

      Can't urine be sold if held in bulk amounts? I'm told it has valuable chemicals in it, even minute amounts of gold.

      The bottles surely could be recycled and reused. They don't really even need to be washed if used for the same purpose, do they?

  4. Dostoevsky


    Now that's interesting...

    A lot of the things FDR implemented weren't well-thought-out. A lot of his policy/legislation was hasty and drastic. Maybe it *is* time to revisit some of these things, and clean up the *ad hoc* regulations from 80 years ago.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: 0_0

      A lot of things HOOVER implemented weren't well-thought-out, either. They had a disaster on their hands and they were throwing ideas at the walls to see what would stick & work.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: 0_0

      Hey, I've got a fantastic two-step plan, first let's get rid of all these legacy rights and regulations and then let's set up a working group which works out what can replace them that reports back yearly on any progress made.

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: 0_0

      You mean like the banking and trading regulations meant to stop a recurrence of the Great Depression?

      Don't worry, they're working on that.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 0_0

      "We can't achieve perfection, so let's not achieve anything at all."

  5. MrDamage Silver badge

    Abolish the NLRB!

    It's the only thing preventing other unions from going on sympathy strikes. Let them FAFO.

  6. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Who's next?

    FDA? after all they stop companies making bigger profits by putting 'fillers' into the food and other companies from selling 'snake oil' cures

    lets face it.... the only reason these agencies exist is because some companies need regulating and cannot be trusted to treat employees/customers/everyone else fairly

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Who's next?

      Actually, the EPA. There's a case pending with the Supreme Court right now which could limit the EPA's ability to enforce things like air standards across state borders. Because everyone knows that every state is its own self-contained biosphere and the air from one never crossed into the other.

      Honestly, I consider this all to be the sort of natural conclusion to the myth that has been created about executives at publicly held companies having a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value. It's pure bullshit. Even the guy who came up with the whole maximize shareholder value idea has since completely disavowed it and said that what people have taken it to mean is not even close to what he intended. Along the same lines, we need to stop paying executives with stock options. It was a decent idea, worth trying, but it has backfired spectacularly and should have been done away with decades ago. They get a cash salary like everyone else, which is taxable at the same rate as everyone else.

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: Who's next?

        I'm ok with the stock options as compensation, though the amount given is often ridiculous. But they should have at least a 5 year vesting period. One of the problems of modern corporations is that there is far too much focus on the next quarter at the expense of the long term. That leads to some very bad decisions

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who's next?

          I'm more doubtful. For example, in the last couple of years, in my comlany, wage raise was about 8%. Dividends on the other hand were raised by 40%.

        2. aerogems Silver badge

          Re: Who's next?

          I'm not an unreasonable person, so I'd be willing to try making it so stock options are based on future performance set several years out. Using your idea of 5-years, in order for the stock options to be awarded, the company has to meet certain growth targets over the course of 5-years. I'd also tack on employee retention as a sweetener. A small bonus award is given if employee turnover stays below a certain rate, and/or the average tenure of employees is 3+ years. That would include contractors/temps as well, so they can't just go out and hire a bunch of temps, then fire them after a couple of months.

          But one thing I am completely inflexible on, is that people who derive the majority of their income from capital gains should have that income taxed at the same rate as income derived from a cash salary. If it makes up ≥50% of your total income for a year, it should be taxed the same as a cash salary.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Who's next?

      The GOP have been trying to abolish every regulatory agency for decades.

      What's next? Everything is next.

  7. aerogems Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Just... bullshit

    Assuming you are brought to trial by the NLRB and you subsequently lose, you can appeal that decision in federal court. So, the idea that it's somehow contrary to the separation of powers is prima facie false.

    Second, as far as I'm concerned, only meat sack humies have rights under the US Constitution. Do we put fictional characters from movies or video games on trial for murder when they kill people on screen? Do we spend a lot of time worrying about the free speech rights of characters in a Stephen King novel? Then why should we give two wet farts about the supposed rights of an equally fictitious entity like Amazon? It is a contrivance of man and exists at our suffrage.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: Just... bullshit

      That is one of the two main problems with American politics, the supreme court decided that companies are people, and that money is free speech. That set the stage for companies legally buying politicians, and as we've seen Supreme Court justices as well

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: Just... bullshit

        I would like to point out to the leftists here that it was a hard left leaning Supreme Court that made that particular ruling.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Just... bullshit

          hard left leaning Supreme Court that made that particular ruling

          In the US? Don't make laugh, it'll wake up destructo-pup..

  8. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Another "too big to fail" company?

    Amazon's only advantage is everything being in one place. If Amazon keeps sucking more, I doubt people would be too bothered by having to open a couple more browser windows to shop. Amazon is not like supermarkets saving you from driving all over town.

    At least for me, all the games going on at Amazon are way more trouble than buying directly from manufacturers and specialty stores.

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Another "too big to fail" company?

      While there's a certain convenience to a monopoly, I do kind of miss the days when I had about a half dozen different sites I would frequent with my shopping. Before NewEgg was sold to its current owners who seem intent on milking the good name the founders built up for everything it's worth, they were one of my chief go-tos, but there were some others. Now it's basically between Amazon and Best Buy for most things, and Best Buy has been annoying me with some of their recent changes. I get that they're struggling to compete as a brick and mortar company in a digital economy, but the whole total tech support garbage they push means I generally will only order things to be picked up from their locker system, and only if I really need something that day and can be arsed to drive to the other side of town.

      Which is all my rambling way of saying, Amazon needs to be hit with an antitrust sueball and broken up to things like their retail arm, then AWS being spun off into a separate unit, and then their streaming service to probably a third company. The problem is, in the US, these kinds of cases take so long, even if they were filed literally on the first day of a new admininstration, even if they win a second term, there's a decent chance the case will still be ongoing and the next person to have the job will kill it. Sort of like what happened with Microsoft. They just barely managed to drag it out long enough for GWB to come along and change the company being forcibly split up to barely being slapped on the wrist.

  9. Bebu Silver badge

    If I recall...

    I believe some of FDR's New Deal measures were ruled invalid by the Supreme Court on constitutional grounds.

    By the time those measures were invalidated they had often served their purpose. ;)

    FDR faced plenty of opposition at the time and I would imagine the constitutional soundness most of these authorities would have been tested at that time (the 80 years too late?)

    With the current bench who knows what further insanity they might release from this Pandora's box?

  10. ShortLegs

    "You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage."

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