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Amazon Worker Group In New York ‘Withdraws’ Petition For Union Vote

Published Sunday, November 14, 2021
by Julia Love & Jeffrey Dastin/Reuters Via
Amazon Worker Group In New York ‘Withdraws’ Petition For Union Vote

(STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK) -A group of Amazon workers in New York City's Staten Island have withdrawn a petition to hold a Union Election, marking a setback in a growing push by Organized Labor to bring the On-Line Retailer's Staff into the fold.

The group, known as the Amazon Labor Union, which is not affiliated with a major U.S. union, filed its petition last month, joining Union Campaigns underway at Amazon facilities in Alabama and Canada.

In order to hold an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Unions must show that they have gathered signatures of support from at least 30% of Workers who are eligible to vote.

Chris Smalls, the President of the group and a former Employee at the Staten Island warehouse, said Friday (November 12th) the group opted to withdraw its petition after the NLRB informed them they had not collected enough signatures.

"We will resubmit as soon as we can," Smalls said in an interview, adding that he was signing more cards with Workers "as we speak."

Amazon beat back an effort by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) to organize its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse earlier this year, but Unions have continued to organize, with the RWDSU gearing up for a potential rematch.

Unions and companies often tangle over which Employees should be eligible to vote in elections, with employers pushing for broader bargaining units to dilute support, Labor experts say.

Smalls said he collected some 2,000 signatures to request an official vote through the NLRB and has since submitted additional signatures.

Amazon employs more than 6,000 Employees at the JFK8 Fulfillment Center and more than 9,600 across its Staten Island campus.

Unions typically try to gather signatures from 50% to 70% of Workers to give themselves a cushion if some cards are challenged by employers and to ensure they can withstand Anti-Union campaigns by companies before Workers ultimately vote, Labor experts say.

Amid a wave of Labor activity at Amazon warehouses, the Staten Island campaign stands apart in that it is advancing outside the umbrella of a traditional Labor Union.

Smalls rose to prominence last year when Amazon fired him, alleging he violated a paid pandemic-related quarantine when he showed up at his facility to protest work conditions.

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