Union vote at Amazon’s NY warehouse big step closer

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This is the second union effort on Amazon in the last one year.

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After the National Labor Relations Board said there was enough interest in an Amazon distribution center in New York to form a union, union organizers on Monday gave the agency hundreds of signatures — a key step in authorizing a vote that could establish the first union. The country’s largest online retailer.

This is Amazon’s second attempt to form a union in the last one year. workers in alabama Miserably defeated an attempt earlier this year, but organizers there are asking federal officials for a do-over.

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Organizers distributed more than 2,000 signed union-aid cards to the NLRB’s Brooklyn office after launching the effort in April. The specific number of the signature was not immediately available.

“It’s a small victory,” said Christian Smalls, a former employee of the retail giant who now leads the fledgling Amazon labor union, “we know the battle has just begun.”

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As part of its petition to keep the union vote, organizers will submit signatures from at least 30% from the nearly 5,500 employees the union says work at four adjacent Amazon facilities that are represented under collective bargaining. want to do.

Monday’s development served notice to the company that the NLRB determined that union organizers met a minimum threshold for Amazon to formally accept and respond to a union-organizing petition. That means the company will have to post notices on its premises that the union wants to be representative of the bargain for thousands of Amazon workers on Staten Island.

The company may have a number of avenues to challenge this effort, including opposing the number of employees that union organizers used to calculate the required minimum number of signatures.

“We suspect that a sufficient number of valid employee signatures have been secured to warrant an election,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement.

“If there is an election, we want our employees to have their voices heard and look forward to it. Our focus is on listening directly to our employees and constantly improving on their behalf,” Nantel said.

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Although a vote is not yet certain, the organizers hailed the formal filing of their petition as an important step in forming a union.

“That was the easy part,” Smalls said of the signing gathering. “The hard part is to get at least 50% of the workers to vote yes.”

Smalls says he was fired last year after conducting a walkout to protest working conditions, though Amazon said he repeatedly violated the company’s policies.

NLRB staff members began counting soon after the cards were distributed, and union organizers were confident they had met the minimum required. He had planned a rally outside the Staten Island distribution center on Monday evening.

Following the count, the NLRB ordered Amazon to provide a roster of employees who would be covered by the proposed union and set November 15 as the start of a hearing on the union-organizing petition.

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If an election is held, the NLRB said it would vote by secret ballot. Smalls proposed that the election be held on 30 March, the day he was fired.

If organizers in New York are successful, it could start other union drives across the company’s vast empire, which includes more than 100 fulfillment centers across the United States and nearly 1 million employees.

Amazon employees have complained about long working hours, insufficient breaks and safety, with Smalls and others comparing the working conditions to modern sweatshops. The employee turnover rate has also been a cause for concern.

Union efforts on Staten Island come as Amazon is on a hiring binge. It announced in September that it was looking to hire 125,000 delivery and warehouse workers and was paying an average of $18 an hour to new recruits in a tight job market. It plans to bring in an addition of 150,000 seasonal employees for the holidays.

The retail, wholesale, and department store union led a union effort at a defeated Alabama facility in April.

A hearing officer for the NLRB found in August that Amazon had potentially interfered in the Alabama election. And the RWDSU is now awaiting the decision of the Regional Director of NLRB whether the hearing officer’s guidance will be approved or not. But even with the second election, labor experts say a union victory is a long shot.

The New York City organizing campaign is taking place without the support of a national association.


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