Amazon workers in New York withdraw a petition to unionize

The National Board of Labor Relations has confirmed that a group of Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York has withdrawn its petition to hold a vote to unionize.

The move comes less than two weeks before the labor board was expected to hold a hearing to determine if there is enough interest to form a union at the Amazon distribution center.

NLRB spokeswoman Kayla Blado refused to elaborate on the reason for the withdrawal. But she noted that workers can represent a petition.

Union organizers said in late October that it had delivered more than 2,000 signed union support cards to the NLRB’s Brooklyn office after the launch of the effort in April. That’s an important step in authorizing a vote that could set up the first union at the nation’s largest online retailer.

As part of its petition to hold a vote, organizers must send signatures from at least 30 percent of the approximately 5,500 employees the union says work at four adjacent Amazon facilities it aims to represent under collective bargaining.

This is the second union attempt in the past year at Amazon. Workers in Alabama noisily won a test earlier this year, but there organizers are asking federal officials for delivery. The Retail Union, Wholesale and Department Store is leading the effort in Alabama.

The union drive in New York City operates without the help of a national sponsor and is led by a former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls. He said he was fired just hours after he staged a rally last year to protest working conditions at the start of the pandemic. Smalls could not be reached immediately for comment.

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in an email statement that “our focus remains to directly listen to our employees and continually improve because of them.”

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