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Why CAUSE Fights for “Just Cause” Worker Protections

CAUSE members organizing in front of RDU1 in Garner, North Carolina
CAUSE members organizing in front of RDU1 in Garner, North Carolina. Image credit: Deutsche Welle

We hear stories all the time about unfair write ups and wrongful terminations from our coworkers, maybe you have experienced this yourself. A manager you’ve never met comes up to you to lecture you about making rate (maybe when you’re already doing them a favor by cross-training somewhere else), or the HR system glitches out. It has happened to everyone. But all of this would just be irritating if it didn’t mean people were being wrongfully terminated and then feel isolated and not sure how to fight a trillion dollar company.

One RDU1 mom shared her son’s story with Voices of Empowerment about when he was wrongfully terminated while working at UPS. But unlike at Amazon, the difference was that the union had his back. His elected Union Representative got the write up thrown out, his job back and back pay for the time he missed from work. We need this at Amazon.

You may have heard that North Carolina is an “at-will” employment state but what does this mean? Contrary to popular belief, this law does not ban unions or prevent you from joining one. At-will employment laws let your boss fire you at any time for any reason as long as it is not illegal (discrimination, retaliation, etc.). This lets your employer fire you even for what you would consider unfair reasons or for no reason at all. The only way we can change this dynamic is with a union and Just Cause Protections.

Just Cause Protections means that when your boss disciplines or terminates you, they must do so for a just and fair reason, and they must have a union representative present to advise and advocate for you. It requires management fairly investigates, gives warnings before jumping to more serious discipline (like being fired), provide the employee with proof that they violated a reasonable rule, and treated them equally without discrimination. This is a major way a union at Amazon can make a difference in our lives.

This article was first published by CAUSE (Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 12).

Cartoon of employer upset that he can't fire workers without cause because of a union contract


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