Workers Seeking to Unionize Amazon Facility Allege Labor Law Violations

Irina Baranova

​Amazon allegedly threatened and surveilled workers seeking to unionize a Staten Island, N.Y., warehouse, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) claimed in a Jan. 27 complaint. Amazon denies the allegation. We’ve gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Mandatory Managerial Training Sought

The NLRB seeks an order requiring mandatory training of Amazon managers and consultants, as well as requiring management to read a notice to employees about their rights with an NLRB official present. The allegations against Amazon included charges that it was interrogating employees about unionizing.

“These allegations are false, and we look forward to showing that,” an Amazon spokesperson said.


Union Election to Be Held

The NLRB confirmed on Jan. 27 that the Amazon Labor Union had gathered enough signatures to hold a vote on whether to unionize the Staten Island facility. The would-be union submitted more than 2,500 signatures in favor of holding a vote, clearing the NLRB threshold of 30 percent of workers the potential union would cover. That’s 5,000 employees in this case.

“We’re skeptical that there are a sufficient number of legitimate signatures, and we’re seeking to understand how these signatures were verified,” a company spokesperson said.


Better Chance of Organizing Alabama Facility This Year?

Union organizers are more confident that they’ll successfully win employees’ approval of a union at a Bessemer, Ala., Amazon facility this year, despite losing an election for a union at the warehouse last year. Nearly half of the 6,143 workers at the facility are new since the vote last April against a union contract. The NLRB ordered a new vote, saying that Amazon unlawfully interfered with the election process.

(New York Post)

Were Conditions for a Fair Election Undermined?

The NLRB’s regional director for the Atlanta region wrote Nov. 29, 2021, that in Alabama, Amazon “gave a strong impression that it controlled the [election] process” by arranging for the installation of a Postal Service collection box at the warehouse. The box was surrounded by a tent that appeared to be in view of Amazon’s surveillance cameras. Amazon said the box was intended to make it easier for employees to vote and that it did not have access to the ballots that workers deposited in it.

(The New York Times) and (SHRM Online)

Union Decisively Defeated in First Election in Alabama

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) lost the first election in Alabama by a margin of more than 2 to 1. “Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU earlier this year,” an Amazon spokeswoman said following the NLRB regional director’s decision. “It’s disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count.”

(The Washington Post)

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