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Amazon's attempt to crush New York union slapped down

Wouldn't it be a terrible shame if other warehouses now followed JFK8's footsteps

The US National Labor Relations Board squashed Amazon's attempt to overturn the first-ever successful union formed against the internet goliath at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, this week.

The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) – the trade union group led by Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee – waged its first successful union campaign against the e-commerce giant, resulting in workers at the JFK8 warehouse voting in favor of joining the group. 

Amazon, however, claimed the election, held last year in April, was unfair due to "inappropriate and undue influence" from the ALU and the NLRB. The mega-corp filed objections shortly afterwards, urging officials from the NLRB to overturn the results. It accused the union group and representatives of the federal agency of coercing workers to vote in support of forming a union.

Cornele Overstreet, the NLRB's regional director overseeing the Phoenix Office, has ruled against Amazon and asserted it has not provided sufficient evidence to support its allegations. The ruling isn't too surprising, considering an initial hearing involving NLRB attorneys dismissed Amazon's claims. Overstreet upheld this decision.

The fight isn't quite over yet, however – Amazon is set to appeal the decision to the board in Washington.

"As we've said since the beginning, we don't believe this election process was fair, legitimate or representative of the majority of what our team wants," a spokesperson for the super-biz told The New York Times. Amazon is afraid the union will set a precedent – encouraging more fulfillment centers elsewhere across the country to unionize, paving the way for employees to bargain collectively for improved working conditions and better pay. 

"We worked, had fun and made history," Smalls tweeted after the JFK8 victory. "ALU for the win. Welcome the 1st union in America for Amazon." 

The ALU continues to wage union campaigns against the tech corp, but momentum appears to have fallen. Other attempts to coax warehouse workers into joining haven't been successful. Staff from LDJ5 – a different depot also in Staten Island – voted against joining the ALU. Another group from the BHM1 – a center in Bessemer, Alabama – voted no after holding not one but two elections.

New efforts to collect enough signatures – from at least 30 per cent of employees – to hold another official union election recognized by the NLRB at a fulfilment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, are currently underway, according to the state's largest newspaper, the Star Tribune.

The Register has asked Amazon and the ALU for further comment. ®

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