Hearing challenging Amazon Labor Union victory in Staten Island begins: NPR

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The National Labor Relations Board is holding a hearing to consider Amazon’s objections to the union election at a Staten Island warehouse. Amazon is seeking a new election.

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The National Labor Relations Board is holding a hearing to consider Amazon’s objections to the union election at a Staten Island warehouse. Amazon is seeking a new election.

Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

A hearing is underway to determine whether the Amazon Labor Union’s historic victory on Staten Island should stand – or whether a new election is warranted.

This spring, workers at Amazon’s largest Staten Island warehouse, which employs more than 8,000 workers, voted 2,654 to 2,131 to join the Amazon Labor Union, a grassroots organization founded by warehouse workers. current and former Amazon.

Just a week after the ballots were counted on April 1, Amazon filed 25 objections to the election. Among its complaints, the company says the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Brooklyn, which oversaw the election, favored the union and facilitated its victory.

The company also raised objections to some of the actions of the Amazon Labor Union, accusing organizers of harassing and threatening employees who did not support the union, including suggesting they could lose their benefits if they did not support the union. Amazon also accuses union organizers of distributing marijuana to workers in exchange for their support. In fact, union leaders have spoken openly about supplying marijuana to workers, but not as a bribe.

Amazon Union President Chris Smalls (left) celebrates with Amazon workers after the vote count in the April 1, 2022 union election at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island in New York.

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Amazon Union President Chris Smalls (left) celebrates with Amazon workers after the vote count in the April 1, 2022 union election at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island in New York.

Andrea Renault/AFP via Getty Images

Since the NLRB’s Brooklyn regional office was named in Amazon’s filing, the matter was moved out of the region under standard protocol. The NLRB says its regional office in Phoenix was chosen because it had the capacity to take on the case. The hearing is expected to last several days and is being streamed live on Zoom.

Amazon demands a new election from the NLRB, calling the actions of the NLRB’s Brooklyn office and the Amazon Labor Union “substantially more egregious than the installation of a mailbox”, referencing the events of the union’s saga Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama.

In this election, held in early 2021, warehouse workers voted more than 2 to 1 against joining the retail, wholesale and department store union, but those results were overturned and a new election was ordered after the NLRB found that Amazon had interfered inappropriately. in the election by installing a mailbox outside the warehouse.

An overhaul election at the Bessemer warehouse was held earlier this year, but the results were too close to announce. Both parties – Amazon and the union – have filed objections to this election.

In late April, the Amazon Labor Union lost its second union election on Staten Island, but pledged to continue efforts to organize warehouse workers across the country.

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