Amazon warehouse workers on Staten Island refile union petition


Workers and supporters hold signs after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union outside the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office in the Brooklyn Borough of New York, on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.
Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A labor group seeking to organize Amazon warehouse workers on New York’s Staten Island has filed a union petition with the National Labor Relations Board, the agency confirmed Wednesday.

The group, known as the Amazon Labor Union, first filed its request for a union vote in late October with signatures from more than 2,000 employees. But last month, the workers withdrew their petition, after the NLRB determined the group hadn’t gathered enough signatures to force an election.

NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado confirmed the Amazon Labor Union is in the process of submitting all the necessary paperwork to file for a union election. The group has submitted the initial petition to kick off the process, but has yet to file two remaining documents, including a showing of interest, which indicates they’ve met the required threshold for employee signatures, the NLRB said.

The group, led by former Amazon employee Christian Smalls, is seeking to organize workers at four Amazon warehouse on Staten Island. The NLRB requires that employees collect signatures from at least 30% of workers in the potential bargaining unit in order for a union petition to be granted approval. The Staten Island warehouses employ roughly 5,500 workers, according to Bloomberg.

Amazon Labor Union said in a release Wednesday that it has “signed up thousands of Staten Island Amazon warehouse workers who want a union.”

The union campaign has primarily been focused at one of Amazon’s largest warehouses on Staten Island, called JFK8. Smalls, a former Amazon worker who was fired after he organized a protest at JFK8, and other workers have had a tent set up outside the facility for the past several months, offering food and campaign materials to try and recruit employees.

The group is holding a “lunchtime walkout” outside JFK8 on Wednesday to urge Amazon to “immediately recognize the union,” the group said in the release. In addition, the group has called for higher wages, safer working conditions, longer breaks and improved benefits, such as enhanced medical leave options and additional paid time off.

Should the NLRB approve the group’s request for a union vote, it would kick off the second unionization vote at an Amazon warehouse in less than a year. In April, Amazon secured enough votes to defeat a unionization drive at one of its Alabama warehouses.

That labor battle is still ongoing. Late last month, the NLRB authorized a new union election at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility, after finding that Amazon illegally interfered in the vote.

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