A National Labor Relations Board representative suggested on Thursday that the landmark union victory at Amazon’s Staten Island facility be sustained.
More than 2,600 employees at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island cast their ballots in favour of joining the Amazon Labor Union in April, making them the first group to do so at one of the e-commerce giant’s American sites.
In May, Amazon made an attempt to void the election results. It filed a complaint with the NLRB charging that the Brooklyn branch of the federal agency had broken the law by appearing to encourage the union drive. Amazon also claimed that labour organisers intimidated workers into supporting them by including 25 objections in its application.
The NLRB’s Region 29 office, the ALU, and Amazon’s objectors all testified over the 24 days of hearings, which were conducted via Zoom. Among the more than a dozen witnesses invited to testify were JFK8 workers and union activists, including Chris Smalls, co-founder and interim president of the ALU.
Amazon “had not fulfilled its burden” of proving the NLRB, the union, or any other parties “engaged in objectionable activity affecting the outcomes of the election,” Lisa Dunn, the NLRB attorney presiding over the case, said in a filing on Thursday, according to NLRB spokesman Kayla Blado. According to Blado, Dunn also suggested that ALU be recognised as a bargaining representative.
Amazon has until September 16 to protest to Dunn’s recommendations; after that, a regional director of the NLRB will hear the concerns. When the regional director decides to certify the results of the April election rather than call for a fresh union election, Amazon will be forced to begin contract talks with the ALU.
The union expressed its satisfaction with the hearing officer’s recommendations in a statement.
The union expressed its hope that the Regional Director for Region 28 might speed up the certification process and that the NLRB would uphold Amazon’s constitutional duty to engage in negotiations with the ALU’s employees.
A request for comment was not immediately answered by representatives of Amazon or the NLRB.
The ALU, a grassroots group of current and former Amazon workers, has aimed to reach more people than JFK8. Although the union’s successful union effort in May at a different Staten Island facility was unsuccessful, it has found success elsewhere.
The ALU is looking to represent staff at an Amazon warehouse close to Albany. A date for that election has not yet been set by the NLRB. A warehouse for Amazon in Kentucky has also expressed interest in joining ALU.