National Labor Relations Board Files Complaint Against Amazon for Refusing to Negotiate with Staten Island Union

National Labor Relations Board Files Complaint Against Amazon for Refusing to Negotiate with Staten Island Union

July 14, 2023 : On Tuesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it has determined Amazon to violate labor laws by refusing to negotiate with a newly formed union representing employees at one of its warehouses in New York. The NLRB’s regional director in Brooklyn issued an order seeking remedies, which includes directing Amazon to engage in good faith bargaining with the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) and compensate the affected employees for the lost opportunity to negotiate as mandated by national labor law.

Last April, workers at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island voted to join the ALU, a grassroots organization established by current and former Amazon employees. Since the successful unionization, the ALU has been striving to establish a contract with Amazon. The dispute has extended into the legal arena, where the company has contested the election results and the conduct of the NLRB and the union during the voting process. In January, the NLRB upheld the election results.

The ALU has repeatedly called on Amazon to initiate contract negotiations. Still, the company has consistently refused, citing its intention to challenge the union’s certification as the exclusive representative for collective bargaining. According to the NLRB’s order, Amazon has been using this refusal as a testing ground for the union’s legitimacy.

In response to the NLRB’s complaint, Amazon spokesperson Mary Kate Paradis stated to CNBC that the company continues to believe the election process was unfair, illegitimate, and does not accurately represent most of its workforce’s desires.

The NLRB’s action occurs when the ALU has encountered setbacks following its significant victory in Staten Island. The ALU experienced defeats in two elections held at other Amazon warehouses last year, and internal divisions have emerged between certain union leaders and members. On Monday, a group of former ALU members filed a lawsuit against the union, accusing it of violating the ALU’s constitution and requesting a court order to compel an election for union officers. The ALU’s lawyers reportedly dismissed the lawsuit as baseless and untrue, as The New York Times reported.