Home Amazon, NRF, Chamber of Commerce Contesting Union Election
April 5, 2022
Amazon, NRF, Chamber of Commerce Contesting Union Election
Posted In: Retail Articles

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For the first time, Amazon lost a unionization vote, at a fulfillment center in the New York City borough of Staten Island, and it’s considering action against the United States National Labor Relations Board as a consequence, backed by the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In a statement, Amazon noted:

We’re disappointed with the outcome of the election in Staten Island because we believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees. We’re evaluating our options, including filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence by the NLRB that we and others, including the National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, witnessed in this election.

In a letter to members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee asking for an investigation of NLRB activity in relation to the vote, sent over the signature of David French, its senior vp government relations, NRF stated, in part:

I write to ask that your committees investigate the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel’s suit against Amazon.com, Inc., both with respect to policy behind the suit, which is at odds with federal civil rights laws, and the timing of the suit, which gives the appearance of an attempt to influence the outcome of a pending union representation election.

NRF objected to a successful mid-March move by the NLRB to reinstate a fired union organizer, who, it said, was dismissed from the Staten Island fulfillment center “nearly two years ago for shouting sexually charged and profane obscenities at a female coworker over a bullhorn at their shared workplace.”

In a blog post, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also took issue with NLRB activity including the last minute employee reinstatement as potentially prejudicing the election by painting Amazon management as unjustly dismissing a worker who supported unionizing, as Sean Redmond, vp, labor policy, wrote:

Despite its ostensible role as a neutral arbiter, the National Labor Relations Board has a penchant for tilting the field in favor of labor unions depending on who is running the agency. Its most recent shenanigan involving the retail giant Amazon — a curiously-timed court petition — is an unfortunate example of this phenomenon.

 

On March 17, an NLRB Regional Director filed a petition in federal court seeking an injunction under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act. The petition asked the court to force Amazon to rehire an employee who had been fired from his job at the company’s fulfillment center in Staten Island, N.Y., known as its JFK8 facility. Despite the drama of using 10(j), this termination was hardly an emergency, in fact it took place a full 23 months ago.

The NLRB states that Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act authorizes the National Labor Relations Board to seek temporary injunctions against employers and unions in federal district courts to stop unfair labor practices while the case is being litigated before administrative law judges and the board.

For its part, the independent Amazon Labor Union stated on its website:

The workers of JFK8 just made history. The first labor union at Amazon in the history of the United States. The first completely independent worker-led union of this size in decades, if not centuries.

 

‌‌On April 1st, 2022, over 2,500 Amazon workers at JFK8 somehow did the impossible. We won by over 500 votes. We made history. The bosses wasted millions of dollars to try to defeat us. They failed. The workers won. The election is over. We did it.

 

Now, the next election campaign begins at LDJ5, the bargaining process begins for the unionized workers at JFK8, and our nationwide organizing and training will soon launch.

This is the first step. It is a historic moment. And it is just the first of many.

JFK8 is the Amazon fulfillment center that voted to join the Amazon Labor Union. LDJ5 is a sorting center elsewhere on Staten Island where workers are set to vote on unionization.

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