Amazon to get hearing that could overthrow New York’s union vote, says a Labor Council official

Amazon Labor Union organizers are holding signs outside the LDJ5 Amazon Black Center on April 25, 2022 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Amazon’s objections to a landmark union election at a New York City warehouse justify a hearing that could overturn the result, a U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official said.

The online retailer has accused the NLRB’s Brooklyn office of appearing to support the union, claiming that labor organizers scared workers into voting for them.

Referring to the behavior of the Brooklyn office, Amazon last month secured the transfer of the case to the NLRB’s Phoenix-based region. The office’s director, Cornele Overstreet, said the evidence behind Amazon’s allegations “could be grounds to overturn the election,” according to a filing Friday.

About 55% of employees who voted from Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in the Staten Island district chose to join the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which has argued for higher wages and job security. Turnout was around 58%.

The election marked the first time that U.S. employees at Amazon had decided to join forces in the company’s nearly 28-year history, a victory for organized labor that for years sought more protection from the workers of the country’s second-largest private employer.

Overstreet did not specify which of Amazon’s 25 objections had the potential to invalidate the election result. He said the parties can present testimony from May 23, after which an NLRB hearing consultant will recommend whether the outcome should be upheld. The process can take weeks.

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said: “We want our employees to have their voices heard, and in this case it did not happen – less than a third of the employees on the ground voted for the union.”

Representatives of ALU and NLRB did not immediately respond to requests for comment. ALU has said that Amazon’s objections have no justification, serve to stop union certification, and that it was false that it ever forced workers.

The NLRB has said that its enforcement action against Amazon has been in line with its congressional mandate.

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