The seemingly rocky relationship between Amazon and New York City residents continues as Staten Island warehouse workers rescinded a petition to hold a union vote.
The borough reportedly hosts four Amazon warehousing facility that possesses workforce union advocates believed stood at approximately 5,000. Efforts to unionize have been tough sledding as the upstart Amazon Labor Union (ALU) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold an employee vote.
“We’ve been out there for six months, meeting workers and signing workers day and night. Sometimes I’ve been out for 36 hours straight, just trying to get to our goal,” Amazon Labor Union president and organizer Chris Smalls reportedly said. “The workers that are organizing themselves within these facilities, because they’re the ones that are really inside the facility, to see that, to witness and to be a part of it, it’s just been a magical experience, something that I’ve never fathomed.”
A union is typically required to gather approval signatures from at least 30 percent of the employee ranks to file a petition. The fledgling ALU worked tirelessly to secure 2,000 signatures. Although that seemed to meet the filing requirements in their view, the seasonal and transitory nature of Amazon workers upended a vote.
Too many workers who provided their signatures for the filing moved on to other employment opportunities. And Amazon officials indicated the organization had more than 6,000 employees at the fulfillment center and upwards of 9,600 across its Staten Island campus. Smalls and his enthusiastic union hopefuls discovered they’d fallen below the 30-percent requirement.
“As soon as we can get enough cards, we’ll resubmit,” he reportedly said.
Smalls was reportedly dismissed from his Amazon job in 2020. The dust-up came when Amazon employees were reportedly protesting working conditions during the height of the pandemic.
Ranked among the largest revenue-generating corporation in the U.S., Amazon officials declined to open a headquarters in New York City after political pushback was leveled by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others. Amazon reportedly withdrew a plan that would have created nearly 50,000 jobs because political figures objected to massive financial incentives the city offered to attract the e-commerce operation.
Labor activists have repeatedly attempted to unionize Amazon facilities to no avail. In Alabama, workers opposed joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union with 71 percent of employees voting against the measure.
The e-commerce corporation that dominates the sector reportedly enjoys a workforce that exceeds 1.4 million employees worldwide. To date, no established or upstart organization has successfully unionized warehouse workers, drivers, or any facility in the U.S.