Amazon labor group refiles union election petition at NYC warehouse, demands return of COVID-19 hazard pay

Amazon labor group refiles union election petition at NYC warehouse, demands return of COVID-19 hazard pay
Former Amazon worker and union organizer Chris Smalls.Valentina Goncharova
  • An Amazon union group refiled a petition for a union election at the firm's Staten Island warehouse.
  • The Amazon Labor Union filed a petition in October, but withdrew it a month later.

Amazon could be looking at another union fight.

The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) filed a petition for a union election at Amazon's Staten Island JFK8 warehouse on Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) confirmed to Insider.

The ALU has submitted its petition with over 2,500 signatures, the group told The New York Times. Organizer and former Amazon worker Chris Smalls told The Times that previously the ALU filed for three Staten Island Amazon buildings, but this time it just filed for JFK8.

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"We are hoping that not only do we have more than enough, but we have more than enough that are still employed," Smalls told The Times. The Times reports JFK8 holds over 5,000 workers, and the ALU will need 30% of that workforce to sign cards in order to qualify for an election.

The ALU already filed a petition for an election in October, but withdrew the submission in November after the NLRB said it didn't have enough employee signatures to meet the threshold. Smalls cited high employee turnover inside the warehouse at the time.


The ALU also staged a walkout on Wednesday. It is not clear how many workers participated. In a letter to JFK8's site leader, the organization demanded a return to two policies that Amazon instituted in the early stages of the pandemic.

"In light of the increasing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Omicron variant, we are demanding the return of hazard pay and unlimited unpaid time off," the letter, which was posted by the ALU on Twitter, reads.

Amazon brought in a $2 hourly pay bump for workers at the beginning of the pandemic, but scrapped the policy in June 2020. The company ended its unlimited unpaid time off policy for workers at the end of April 2020.

Workers in two Chicago warehouses also walked off the job on Wednesday demanding a $5 increase to their wages and a return to extended 20-minute breaks Amazon brought in as COVID-19 safety policy.

In its letter, the ALU also said members were protesting union-busting by Amazon. In a flyer published on Twitter before the walkout, it also demanded Amazon "deal with sexual harassment."


This isn't the first time Amazon has been accused of union-busting. Workers at an Alabama warehouse voted against forming a union in April, but last month the NLRB ordered the election must be re-held as it found Amazon had illegally interfered in the process making a "free and fair election impossible."

An Amazon spokesperson told Insider: "Our focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf."

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