Amazon loses bid to overturn Union win at Staten Island warehouse
A federal labor official on Wednesday rejected Amazon’s attempt to overturn a union victory at a Staten Island warehouse, removing a major roadblock to contract negotiations between the union and the company.
The official, regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, found that there was a lack of evidence to support Amazon’s allegation of election irregularities and that its objections to the election should be dismissed.
The ruling was widely expected after a labor board hearing officer recommended in September that the company’s objections be overturned. Amazon then said it would likely appeal an unfavorable ruling, but it did not immediately say on Wednesday whether it intended to do so. An appeal would be considered by the labor board in Washington.
In an interview at The New York Times DealBook conference in late November, Andy Jassy, chief executive of Amazon, indicated that the company would not give up on its challenges, calling the fight “far from over”.
“It has a real chance of ending up in federal court,” Mr. Jassy said.
In its objections, Amazon argued that the election was unfair both because of the conduct of the labor board and the actions of the union that pressured workers to support it.
The NLRB regional director found that the evidence presented by Amazon did not show that the board or union acted improperly or that their actions affected the outcome of the election.
For example, Amazon had accused the labor board of failing to monitor the presence of members of the news media near the voting area. But the regional director concluded that “the press was assembled peacefully and did not engage in voter harassment” and that council officials “had no responsibility to order the press not to speak to voters or to leave property of the employer”.
Warehouse workers, known as JFK8, voted to join the independent Amazon Labor Union in an election whose results were announced in April. Over 8,000 employees were eligible to participate and the union won by around 10 percentage points.
A few weeks later, the union lost a vote to represent workers at a small Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, LDJ5, and it lost another vote at a warehouse near Albany, NY, in October.
Wednesday’s decision came after another unfavorable ruling for Amazon related to JFK8’s business. In mid-November, a federal judge in New York issued an injunction requiring the company to “cease and desist” from firing workers for exercising their labor rights. The judge also forced company officials to read his order to warehouse workers.
The case that resulted in the federal judge’s injunction dates back to the early days of the pandemic, when an Amazon worker protested safety conditions outside JFK8 and was later fired.
The judge’s ruling essentially warned Amazon that it could not fire workers for engaging in protected activities such as protesting safety conditions or organizing a union. Amazon officials read the judge’s order to JFK8 workers several times during the first week of December.