Amazon Labor Group Withdraws Union Petition in Staten Island
(Bloomberg) -- A new labor group seeking to organize Amazon.com Inc. warehouse workers at facilities on New York’s Staten Island withdrew its petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday, saying it needs time to collect more signatures to force an election.
In October, the group collected about 2,000 signatures from workers at the facilities, where Amazon stows products and packages them for shipment to customers. Under federal rules, organizers must win the backing of at least 30% of employees, a threshold the labor board said at the time had been met.
Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union, said the group needs more signatures from workers so it pulled its petition and will start again. Smalls declined to say how many signatures the group needs. The Staten Island facilities employ about 5,500 workers. In the days before the withdrawal, Smalls tweeted pictures of literature that he said Amazon posted in the warehouses, which told workers to closely examine documents they may be asked to sign by the union.
“We expected this,” Smalls said in an interview.
Smalls worked at Amazon for more than four years and was fired in 2020 after protesting the company’s Covid-19 policies, a move he said was for his activism. Amazon said Smalls was fired because he violated safety guidelines.
Under the original time frame, a hearing was supposed to be held on Nov. 15 after Amazon filed a statement of position with the NLRB. That was adjourned until Nov. 22, Amazon Labor Union attorney Eric Milner said on Thursday. Milner didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.
“Our focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said.
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