Amazon Staten Island Union Victory Upheld By Federal Board

Image credit: Amazon

Historic trade union victory at at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse last year has been upheld, but Amazon said it will appeal again

Amazon has lost its bid to overturn a historic union victory at one of its Staten Island warehouses known as JFK8.

In early April 2022, staff at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in the New York City borough of Staten Island had voted to unionise with the nascent Amazon Labor Union (ALU), operated by current and former Amazon workers, becoming the company’s first unionised facility in the US.

However Amazon has yet to formally recognise or bargain with the Amazon Labor Union at JFK8, despite losing the first round of its appeal efforts in September with the National Labor Relations Board to overturn the union’s victory.

Image credit: Amazon
Image credit: Amazon

Vote upheld

Now CNBC has reported that a federal labour official on Wednesday has upheld the results of a historic union election at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse.

But Amazon said it intends to appeal the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling.

CNBC reported that on Wednesday the US federal labour agency certified the union’s landmark victory and threw out a litany of objections filed by the e-retailer.

Amazon objected to the results of the election, alleging the National Labor Relations Board office that oversaw the election interfered in the union drive.

Amazon also claimed that the ALU intimidated workers to vote in their favour.

In a filing Wednesday, Cornele Overstreet, a director of the NLRB’s Phoenix-based office, was quoted by CNBC as saying that he agreed with a federal labour official’s prior ruling that all of Amazon’s objections should be dismissed.

Amazon appeal

Amazon however has indicated it will appeal with this second ruling to the NLRB’s board in Washington.

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, told CNBC in a statement that the company intends to appeal the results.

“As we’ve said since the beginning, we don’t believe this election process was fair, legitimate, or representative of the majority of what our team wants,” Nantel reportedly said.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has previously made his feelings about the Staten Island union vote clear when he spoke at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit late last year.

Jassy reportedly said there were “a lot of irregularities” in the union drive, and that the legal process is “far from over.”

“I think that it’s going to work its way through the NLRB,” Jassy reportedly said. “It’s probably unlikely the NLRB is going to rule against itself, and that has a real chance to end up in federal court.”

Come to the table

However ALU interim President Chris Smalls reacted to the latest ruling with glee.

He wrote in a tweet that the union “beat Amazon fair and square,” and called upon Jassy to “come to the table” to sign a contract.

Despite the ALU celebrations, it and other unions have failed to achieve similar unionisation at other Amazon facilities.

Workers at a second facility on Staten Island rejected unionisation in May 2022, and the ALU lost an election at an Albany warehouse in October.