Earlier this month, in one of the biggest labor wins in recent memory, workers at a Staten Island Amazon warehouse voted to unionize. Organizers celebrated; Sen. Bernie Sanders congratulated; and President Joe Biden warned, “Amazon, here we come.”
But the retail behemoth is pushing back. The company is seeking an election do-over, according to a legal filing obtained by the Associated Press.
Amazon outlined 25 objections against the union. They say that organizers intimidated workers to vote for the union, inappropriately distributed cannabis to workers, and failed to control media presence at the polls, among other objections. An attorney for the Amazon Labor Union called the claims “patently absurd.”
The move is part of a general push by Amazon to delegitimize the union victory. The company also has said the National Labor Relations Board had “inappropriate and undue influence” on the result for bringing a lawsuit against the company in March for an illegal labor practice.
Amazon’s own behavior during the union drive wasn’t exactly beyond reproach. As my colleague Noah Lanard wrote earlier this month, the company required workers to attend anti-union propaganda sessions and shelled out $3,200 per day for professional union-busters. Early on in the pandemic, Amazon fired worker Christian Smalls for helping lead a walk-out over Covid safety precautions. Smalls went on the lead the union fight—and win.
The results of an Amazon union vote in Bessemer, Alabama, has also been disputed, but this time by the NLRB. The union drive in Alabama initially failed, but the NLRB argued last year that the location of a voting box inside an Amazon-branded tent tainted the election. Workers voted again earlier this year, but the results are still too close to call.
A second State Island warehouse is set to vote on unionization on April 25.