Amazon Loses Attempt To Overturn Staten Island Union Election

Image credit: Amazon

National Labor Relations Board official recommends rejection of Amazon’s objections to historic union election in New York

Amazon handed another trade union blow, after a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official recommended on Thursday that the historic union victory at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse should be upheld.

In early April staff at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in the New York City borough of Staten Island voted to unionise with the the nascent Amazon Labor Union (ALU), operated by current and former Amazon workers.

Days after that, Amazon filed an appeal, alleging misconduct by the Brooklyn office of the federal agency NLRB.

Image credit: Amazon
Image credit: Amazon

NLRB recommendation

Amazon in its filing to the NLRB, alleged how the independent federal agency’s regional office which oversaw the election at its Staten Island facility, “unfairly and inappropriately facilitated the [Amazon Labor Union’s] victory.”

Amazon called for the election to be held again, after citing 25 objections. It also alleged that labor organisers intimidated workers to vote in their favour.

In early May, the e-commerce giant won the right to a hearing that could have overturned the landmark union election at JFK8.

According to CNBC, Amazon’s objections kicked off 24 days of hearings held via Zoom where lawyers for Amazon, NLRB’s Region 29 office, and the ALU dissected conduct during the election.

JFK8 workers and union organisers, including Chris Smalls, co-founder and interim president of the ALU, were among the more than a dozen witnesses called to testify.

Lisa Dunn, the NLRB attorney presiding over the hearing, concluded in a filing Thursday that Amazon “had not met its burden” of establishing the agency, the union or any other parties “engaged in objectionable conduct affecting the results of the election,” NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado was quoted by CNBC as saying.

Dunn also recommended ALU be certified as bargaining representative, Blado said.

Amazon however has until 16 September to file objections to Dunn’s recommendations, which will then be heard by a regional director of the NLRB, CNBC reported.

The regional director will determine whether to order a new union election, or certify the results of the April election, at which point Amazon will be required to start contract negotiations with the ALU.

ALU response

The ALU celebrated the NLRB recommendation in a post on Twitter.

“It is our hope that the Regional Director for Region 28 can expedite our certification and that the NLRB enforces Amazon’s legal obligation to negotiate with the workers of the ALU,” the union said in a release posted to Twitter.

Growing pressure?

Amazon continues to face growing unionisation pressure elsewhere.

Last month Amazon workers in a warehouse near Albany, New York, filed a petition for a union election.

Last week, a Kentucky Amazon warehouse worker alleged the firm had retaliated against him.

Matt Littrell, aged 22, alleged in a charge he filed with federal labor officials, that he was fired after a year and a half working for the company.

Littrell was reportedly the lead organiser of a growing campaign to unionise a Kentucky Amazon warehouse, and he claims the company fired him in retaliation for his efforts.

Amazon however has denied that Littrell’s firing was retaliatory, and said he was terminated due to his performance.