Amazon is seeking to overturn a historic union victory at one of its New York City warehouses, arguing in a legal filing Friday that union organizers and the National Labor Relations Board acted in a way that clouded the results. Now he wants to redo the election.
The e-commerce giant listed 25 objections in the filing obtained by The Associated Press, accusing organizers of the nascent Amazon Workers Union of intimidating workers into voting for the union, a claim a lawyer representing the group called of “obviously absurd”.
“The employees have spoken,” Eric Milner, the attorney, said in a statement Thursday after Amazon’s planned initial objections were made public in another legal filing.
“Amazon is choosing to ignore that and instead engages in delaying tactics to avoid the inevitable — sitting at the bargaining table and negotiating a contract” on behalf of workers, he said.
Warehouse workers on Staten Island cast 2,654 votes, or about 55%, in favor of a union, giving the fledgling group enough support to clinch a victory last Friday.
In an objection, Amazon said organizers “intentionally created hostile confrontations in front of eligible voters” by disrupting mandatory meetings the company held to persuade its employees to reject the union campaign. In a document released earlier this month, the company revealed that it spent about $4.2 million last year on employment consultants.
In another objection, Amazon targeted the distribution of cannabis to workers by organizers, saying the labor board “cannot tolerate such a practice as a legitimate method of gaining support for a labor organization.” New York legalized the recreational use of marijuana last year for those 21 and older. Milner, the attorney representing the union, said Amazon is grasping at straws.
Distributing cannabis “is no different than distributing free T-shirts and certainly did not act to interfere with the election,” he said.
The company also accused organizers of improperly surveying workers.
The retailer had initially said it planned to contest the election results because of a lawsuit the NLRB filed in March, in which the board sought to force Amazon to reinstate a fired employee who was involved in the union campaign.
Amazon singled out the suit in one of its objections filed Friday, saying the NLRB regional office that filed the suit “failed to protect the integrity and neutrality of its proceedings” and had created an impression of support for the union by seeking reinstatement of the union. former employee, Gerald Bryson.
“Based on the evidence we have seen thus far, as set forth in our objections, we believe that the actions of the NLRB and ALU improperly suppressed and influenced the vote, and we believe that the election should be held again for it to be held. make a fair vote. and you can have a broadly representative vote,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement Friday.
Bryson was fired in the early days of the pandemic after leading a protest calling on the company to do more to protect workers from COVID-19. While off work during the protest, Bryson got into a dispute with another worker and was later fired for violating Amazon’s profanity policy, according to his attorney Frank Kearl.
The NLRB did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its spokeswoman, Kayla Blado, previously said the independent agency is authorized by Congress to enforce the National Labor Relations Act.
“All of the NLRB’s enforcement actions against Amazon have been consistent with that mandate from Congress,” he said.
In other objections, Amazon focused on how the labor agency conducted the elections. He said the agency failed to control media presence in the voting area and did not have enough staff and equipment, which the company said created long lines and “discouraged many employees from voting in subsequent polls.”
Meanwhile, both Amazon and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a union that led a separate union campaign in Bessemer, Alabama, have filed objections to that choice. The final result of the union vote in Alabama is still up in the air with 416 contested ballots pending in the balance. Initial results show the union lost by 118 votes, with a majority of Amazon warehouse workers rejecting an attempt to form a union.
RWDSU, which filed more than 20 objections, said in its filing Thursday that its objections are “grounds to nullify the election.”
A hearing to review the contested ballots is expected to begin in the coming weeks.