(Bloomberg)—Amazon.com Inc. and workers at a company warehouse in Staten Island, New York, have reached a tentative agreement to hold a union election, according to U.S. labor officials.
The National Labor Relations Board said in a statement Wednesday that it would announce the election timing and format in due course. Earlier, the fledgling Amazon Labor Union said an in-person vote would be held from March 25 to March 30.
The ALU confronts daunting odds. Despite a spirited campaign, the far more established Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union lost an election last year at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. The labor board ordered a fresh election after the union appealed the outcome, but it’s far from assured that the RWDSU will prevail this time.
Still, Christian Smalls, the ALU’s president, has notched a significant achievement in New York despite lacking the money and organizing experience of the national unions. He worked at Amazon for more than four years before being fired in 2020 for what the company said was a violation of safety guidelines; Smalls said he was protesting Amazon’s inadequate COVID-19 policies.
“We remain skeptical that there are a sufficient number of legitimate signatures to support this election petition,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement. “But since the NLRB has decided the election will proceed, we want our employees to have their voices heard as soon as possible. Our employees have always had a choice of whether or not to join a union, and our focus remains on working directly with our team to make Amazon a great place to work.”