Amazon opposes coalition victory in New York, alleging interference by Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers stand in line to vote for a union election at Amazon’s JFK8 distribution center, in the Staten Island borough of New York City, U.S., March 25, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid./ Photo
(Reuters) -Amazon.com accused the new union at a New York City warehouse of threatening workers unless they vote to organize, an assertion the labor group’s attorney called “real” absurdity.”
A second labor group, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which is losing its bid to organize Amazon (NASDAQ:) warehouses in Alabama, has also filed a protest against the election. that union on Thursday.
The US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will give Amazon until April 22 to support its objections to last week’s New York election in which Staten Island workers dropped out. votes to form the company’s first U.S. union. Amazon asked for more time to provide evidence because its objections were “substantial,” it said in a filing Wednesday.
A certified election result would give organized labor a foothold in the United States’ second-largest private employer, with the potential to change the way Amazon manages its fine-tuned operations.
About 55% of workers who voted in an election at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in the Staten Island borough of New York City have chosen to join the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which demands higher wages and guarantees. job guarantee. The leader of the group said that since the results became available, American workers from 50 other Amazon locations have been in contact with the union.
Among Amazon’s planned objections to the outcome is that the ALU interfered with staff members’ queuing to cast their ballots and discouraged residents from waiting for long periods of time to cast their ballots, according to the filing. of Amazon said. About 58% of eligible voters cast their ballots in person for several days.
Eric Milner, an attorney representing ALU from law firm Simon & Milner, dismissed Amazon’s claims as false and said they would be subject to action.
“To say that the Amazon Labor Union is threatening employees is simply absurd,” he said. “The Amazon Labor Union is Amazon employees.”
Separately on Thursday, RWDSU protested an election in Bessemer, Alabama, in which Amazon workers voted against unionization. It was the second election in Bessemer, after the NLRB determined that Amazon improperly interfered in the first contest there last year. The most recent results are pending amid hundreds of ballots challenged and now an objection by RWDSU, which could delay results for months.
“We want employees’ voices to be heard, and we expect the NLRB to count every valid vote,” said Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.
In a filing, RWDSU said Amazon illegally removed pro-union material from non-employment areas and terminated an employee who spoke pro-union during work meetings. mandatory, among other objections. RWDSU said these were grounds for the NLRB to dismiss the results.
Amazon itself has also taken issue with RWDSU’s conduct, such as union communications with workers about the use of mailboxes on warehouse property, adding that filing their objections is standard process.
John Logan, a labor professor at San Francisco State University, said the retailer faced high resistance when it proved that the New York union had violated its rules of engagement with employees. .
In addition, the NLRB often takes alleged violations by employers more seriously than misconduct by unions because companies have greater power over workers, he said.
“It’s going to be really hard” for Amazon, he said.