Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island apply for union election

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In New York on March 30, 2020, after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, Amazon workers at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse went on strike, demanding that the facility be closed and cleaned.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, New York, plan to apply for union elections, which prepares the world’s largest online retailer for another high-profile labor struggle.

The Amazon Union, an independent employee organization, said Thursday that after several months of organizational work, more than 2,000 employees at four Amazon factories in Staten Island have signed union authorization cards.

The organization plans to submit a union election application to the National Labor Relations Committee on October 25.

If the organization’s petition is approved by the NLRB, it will initiate a second union vote in the Amazon warehouse in less than a year. In April of this year, Amazon won enough votes to defeat the union movement in a warehouse in Alabama. This election has attracted worldwide attention and support, including the critical support of President Joe Biden.

The coronavirus pandemic has generated more and more impetus among Amazon warehouses and delivery workers to advocate better working conditions, which has led to a series of actions such as protests and organizational attempts. At the same time, in recent years, more and more employees have filed complaints with the NLRB, many of which allege unfair labor practices.

ALU is closely related to the worker activism that occurred during the pandemic. The organization is led by former Amazon employee Chris Smalls, who was fired after organizing a protest at one of the company’s Staten Island warehouses, Kennedy International Airport (JFK8). At a meeting after his dismissal, the then CEO Jeff Bezos and other executives attended the meeting. Amazon’s general counsel labeled Smalls “unintelligent or slurred”. , Which further exacerbated the tension between Amazon and its front-line employees.

The organization also stated in a press release that the organization has also compiled a “list of requirements” that includes higher wages, safer working conditions, longer rest periods and better benefits, such as increased sick leave options And additional paid vacation.

The organization said in a statement: “This is indeed an extraordinary historical moment for Amazon employees across the country.” “ALU has broken the barrier and will continue to do so, but we will not be complacent. We are now Community support is needed more than ever, because our struggle has just begun.”

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nanter told CNBC in a statement that the company respects workers’ rights to join or not join unions, but the company believes that unions are “not the best answer for our employees”.

“Every day we enable people to find ways to improve their jobs, and when they do, we want to make changes quickly,” Nantel said. “In the middle union, this type of continuous improvement is more difficult to accomplish quickly and flexibly.”

The organization said that in the months since it launched its campaign, Amazon has demonstrated anti-union tactics, including placing signs that cast doubt on the organization’s bathroom efforts.

Nantel said that Amazon provides employees with educational information so that they can understand the facts of joining the union and the election process itself.

watch: Amazon lets managers decide whether employees return to the office


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