January 13, 2023: -On Wednesday, a federal labour agency certified an independent union’s landmark victory at the Staten Island warehouse of Amazon and threw out a litany of objections filed by the e-retailer.
A majority of the almost 8,300 workers at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse, such as JFK8, joined the Amazon Labor Union, becoming the first facility in the U.S. Amazon sought more than the results of the election, which alleges the National Labor Relations Board office that overseeing the election interfered in the union drive. Amazon claimed that the ALU intimidated workers into voting in their favour.
In a Wednesday filing, Cornele Overstreet, an NLRB’s Phoenix-based office director, said he agreed with a federal labour official’s ruling that all Amazon’s objections should be dismissed.
Under U.S. labour law, employers are obligated to start negotiating in good faith with a union following it wins an election and the results are certified. But the process can be delayed, as the employer may seek to avoid signing an initial contract and amid parties hammer out the details of a deal. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Law, taking, on average, 465 days for collective delaying agreements to be signed by employers and their newly unionized workers.
Amazon can contest the ruling to the NLRB’s board in Washington. Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said the company intends to appeal the results.
“As we’ve stated since the starting, we don’t believe this election process was fair or representative of the majority of what the team wants,” Nantel stated.
At the New York Times’ DealBook Summit the previous year, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy stated there were “much of irregularities” in the union and that the legal going on is “far from over.”
“I think it’s going to work its way through the NLRB,” Jassy said. “It’s probably unlikely the NLRB will rule against itself, and that has an actual chance to finish in federal court.”
ALU interim President Chris Smalls writes in a tweet that the union “beat Amazon and square” and is known upon Jassy to “come to the table” to sign a contract.
The ALU struggles to replicate its success following workers voting to join the union at JFK8. Workers at almost facility on Staten Island rejected unionization, and the ALU is losing an election at an Albany warehouse in October.