An employee scans packages at Amazon

Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse workers file petition for union election

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Workers at an Inc (AMZN.O) warehouse in New York Metropolis’s Staten Island borough have filed a petition to type a union, the U.S. Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) stated on Monday, although the corporate questioned whether or not sufficient professional signatures had been gathered.

The transfer represents the second time that U.S. staffers for the world’s greatest on-line retailer have aimed to unionize this yr, following a failed effort at an Alabama facility in April. Although Amazon has lengthy resisted such efforts, some workers are advocating for extra protections and advantages in gentle of a COVID-19 pandemic that put their security in danger.

Chris Smalls, a former worker on the Staten Island warehouse, led the organizing drive and picked up round 2,000 signatures to request an official vote via the NLRB. Smalls rose to prominence final yr when Amazon fired him, alleging he violated a paid pandemic-related quarantine when he confirmed up at his facility to protest work circumstances.

“This is monumental for the workers,” Smalls stated in an interview. “This is proof that you can stand up, fight back and organize your workplace.”

The NLRB confirmed that the union petition was filed electronically with the board.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel stated, “We’re skeptical that a sufficient number of legitimate employee signatures has been secured to warrant an election. If there is an election, we want the voice of our employees to be heard and look forward to it. Our focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf.”

For the previous six months, some workers on the Staten Island warehouse, referred to as “JFK8,” and different close by amenities have been organizing to type what they name the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). Smalls stated he arrange a tent outdoors the warehouse, whereas some present workers championed the identical trigger on the within.

These workers are demanding larger wages, job safety, safer circumstances, higher medical go away and extra paid day off. In response to Smalls, Amazon has put out anti-union literature, and his group has responded with their very own literature.

The organizing drive is being held at Amazon’s solely New York Metropolis success heart, one of many firm’s massive warehouses from which it ships many items.

It’s not clear when an election can be held if regulators inexperienced gentle the petition.

Amazon handily beat again an effort by the Retail, Wholesale and Division Retailer Union (RWDSU) to arrange its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse.

Workers rejected becoming a member of the RWDSU by a greater than two-to-one margin this spring, however one other vote could possibly be held because the NLRB evaluations union claims that Amazon violated labor legal guidelines throughout that election.

Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto California and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Writing by Anna Driver; Modifying by Mark Porter and Will Dunham

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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