Staten Island Amazon warehouse gains enough support for union election, labor board says

Unions need support from at least 30% of workers who are eligible to vote in order to hold an official election

Amazon workers at a Staten Island, New York, distribution center showed sufficient interest to form a union, the U.S. labor board has confirmed. 

U.S. National Labor Relations Board spokesperson Kayla Blado told FOX Business that employees at the JFK8 facility "reached a sufficient showing of interest" for a union election. 

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At least 1,500 union cards were signed and submitted by workers saying they were in favor of a union, which is at least 30% of the 5,000 workers that petitioned for the union, according to the labor board. 

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Unions need to garner support from at least 30% of workers who are eligible to vote in order to hold an official election under the supervision of the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, according to the agency's policies. 

As a result, a hearing will be held on Feb. 16 to discuss specifics of the election such as whom the bargaining unit would cover. It will then be decided if the election will have mail or in-person voting. 

Amazon employee package

An Amazon employee holding a package. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File / AP Newsroom)

The union drive in New York City is working without the help of a national sponsor and is being spearheaded by a former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls. He said he was fired just hours after he organized a walkout last year to protest working conditions at the outset of the pandemic.  

The Amazon Labor Union couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. However, Smalls told Reuters that "to get over this hump, the show of interest, it’s definitely historic for us."

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The move comes after a failed attempt by the group last fall. In November, the group of workers had withdrawn its petition to hold a vote to unionize after failing to collect enough signatures, according to Reuters.  

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told FOX Business that the company is "skeptical that there are a sufficient number of legitimate signatures" and that the company is "seeking to understand how these signatures were verified." 

"Our employees have always had a choice of whether or not to join a union, and as we saw just a few months ago, the vast majority of our team in Staten Island did not support the ALU," Nantel said. 

This is the second unionizing attempt in the last year at Amazon. Workers in Alabama resoundingly defeated an attempt in 2021, but organizers there are asking federal officials for a do-over. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is leading the effort in Alabama.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.