Amazon employees will now be banned from buildings and work areas if they are not at work that day, the company said.
The policy change comes amid a feud with unions, who have criticized the policy for potentially interfering with their ability to hold union actions and meetings.
Under the new policy, employees are also prohibited from entering the buildings before or after their shift.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and the physical security of our buildings,” said Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel. “This Building Access Policy applies to building interiors and work areas.”
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The spokesman said off-duty employees are not prohibited from meeting with colleagues in “non-work areas” outside of the company’s facilities.
Amazon said the new free time policy “will be enforced in a non-discriminatory manner” to punish union efforts.
The move follows a vote by Amazon workers at a warehouse on Staten Island, New York, to unionize in April.
The new policy, passed on Thursday, could hamper efforts by union organizers to meet with colleagues, they said.
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Rev. Ryan Brown, an Amazon warehouse worker in Garner, North Carolina who is trying to get his warehouse to follow Staten Island’s vote, called the new policy “a direct response” to unions.
“On our days off, we come to work and engage our colleagues in the break rooms. This was in direct response to try to stop the organization by any means necessary,” Brown said.
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Amazon explained the new policy as a security concern.
“Part of this is knowing who is in our buildings at any given time so that we can quickly locate and account for everyone in an emergency,” it said in a statement to employees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.