The Amazon Labor Union picked up a win on Thursday when a hearing officer for a federal labor board blocked the ecommerce giant's attempt to overturn a historic union win.
The win is a relief for the grassroots group of former and current workers who claimed an unexpected victory involving a Staten Island, New York, warehouse.
Amazon filed more than two dozen objections with the National Labor Relations Board shortly after the spring vote, claiming the result was tainted by organizers and Region 29, the agency’s regional office in Brooklyn that oversaw the election.
The case was then transferred to another regional office, based in Phoenix, Arizona, at Amazon's request.
The hearing, which lasted 24 days, was marked by tense exchanges between attorneys for both sides on what documents could be submitted for evidence and which witnesses could testify.
On Thursday, Lisa Dunn, the agency officer who handled the company's case, concluded Amazon's objections should be entirely overruled and the union be certified as a bargaining representative for the warehouse, a spokesperson for the NLRB wrote in an email.
"Today is a great day for Labor," Chris Smalls, a fired Amazon worker who now heads the union, wrote in a tweet celebrating the decision.
Amazon Spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the company plans to appeal.
"While we’re still reviewing the decision, we strongly disagree with the conclusion and intend to appeal," Nantel said in a statement. "As we showed throughout the hearing with dozens of witnesses and hundreds of pages of documents, both the NLRB and the ALU improperly influenced the outcome of the election and we don’t believe it represents what the majority of our team wants."
Even with the union win, experts say companies who don't want a unionized workforce often refuse to negotiate. That move can trigger protracted legal battles.
Other campaigns have kicked off at Amazon warehouses in North Carolina, Kentucky and elsewhere, as workers attempt to gather enough signatures to qualify for a union election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.