Amazon — like SpaceX — claims the labor board is unconstitutional

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Amazon claims the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is “unconstitutional” in a new legal document filed on Thursday, according to a report from The New York Times. The e-commerce giant joins the Elon Musk-owned SpaceX in making similar accusations after facing numerous labor complaints from employees.

Amazon made the filing in connection with a 2023 NLRB case, which accuses Amazon of breaking labor rules by threatening and discriminating against unionizing workers at a Staten Island, NY warehouse, the NYT reports.

In the filing, lawyers for Amazon argue the company hasn’t violated any rules. But, as noted by the NYT, it also adds that “the structure of the N.L.R.B. violates the separation of powers.” In other words, Amazon is claiming that the NLRB has too much power for a single entity because it’s capable of creating rules, investigating violations, and determining whether a company broke laws.

The company also claims the NLRB’s hearings “can seek legal remedies beyond what’s allowed without a trial by jury” in violation of the Constitution. Amazon is taking issue with the fact that NLRB hearings take place without a jury and with an administrative law judge — again a common practice in administrative law hearings.

Like other government agencies and regulators, the NLRB uses administrative law to carry out investigations and make decisions. The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Health, and even the Food and Drug Administration are just a few federal agencies that use administrative law, which is why it’s unclear why companies like Amazon and SpaceX are specifically targeting the NLRB for violating the Constitution. Amazon didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment or a copy of the complaint.

Amazon’s arguments are similar to the claims SpaceX made in a lawsuit filed against the NLRB earlier this year. SpaceX filed the lawsuit shortly after the NLRB filed a complaint that SpaceX illegally fired a group of employees who drafted an open letter critical of Musk.

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