AP

Amazon seeks to overturn union win, says vote was tainted

Apr 8, 2022, 7:09 AM | Updated: 11:24 pm

FILE - People arrive for work at the Amazon distribution center in the Staten Island borough of New...

FILE - People arrive for work at the Amazon distribution center in the Staten Island borough of New York, on Oct. 25, 2021. Amazon plans to file objections to the union election on Staten Island, N.Y., that resulted in the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the company’s history. The e-commerce giant stated its plans in a legal filing to the National Labor Relations Board made public Thursday, April 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

Amazon is seeking to overturn the historic union victory at one of its New York City warehouses, arguing in a legal filing Friday that union organizers and the National Labor Relations Board acted in a way that tainted the results. It now wants to redo the election.

The e-commerce giant listed 25 objections in the filing obtained by The Associated Press, accusing organizers with the nascent Amazon Labor Union of intimidating workers to vote for the union, a claim an attorney representing the group has called “patently absurd.”

“The employees have spoken,” Eric Milner, the attorney, said in a statement Thursday after Amazon’s initial planned objections were made public in another legal filing.

“Amazon is choosing to ignore that, and instead engage in stalling tactics to avoid the inevitable — coming to the bargaining table and negotiating for a contract” on behalf of the workers, he said.

Warehouse workers in Staten Island cast 2,654 votes — or about 55% — in favor of a union, giving the fledgling group enough support to pull off a victory last Friday.

In one objection, Amazon said organizers “intentionally created hostile confrontations in front of eligible voters,” by interrupting the mandatory meetings the company held to persuade its employees to reject the union drive. In a filing released earlier this month, the company disclosed it spent about $4.2 million last year on labor consultants.

In another objection, Amazon targeted organizers’ distribution of cannabis to workers, saying the labor board “cannot condone such a practice as a legitimate method of obtaining support for a labor organization.” New York legalized the recreational use of marijuana last year for those over 21. Milner, the attorney representing the union, said Amazon is grasping at straws.

Distributing cannabis “is no different than distributing free t-shirts and it certainly did not act to interfere with the election,” he said.

The company also accused organizers of improperly polling workers.

The retailer had initially signaled it planned to challenge the election results because of a lawsuit the NLRB filed in March, in which the board sought to force Amazon to reinstate a fired employee who was involved in the union drive.

Amazon pointed to the lawsuit in one of its objections filed Friday, saying the regional NLRB office that brought the suit “failed to protect the integrity and neutrality of its procedures,” and had created an impression of support for the union by seeking reinstatement for the former employee, Gerald Bryson.

“Based on the evidence we’ve seen so far, as set out in our objections, we believe that the actions of the NLRB and the ALU improperly suppressed and influenced the vote, and we think the election should be conducted again so that a fair and broadly representative vote can be had,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement Friday.

Bryson was fired in the early days of the pandemic after leading a protest calling for the company to do more to protect workers against COVID-19. While off the job during the protest, Bryson got into a dispute with another worker and was later fired for violating Amazon’s vulgar-language policy, according to his attorney Frank Kearl.

The NLRB did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Its spokesperson, Kayla Blado, previously said the independent agency is authorized by Congress to enforce the National Labor Relations Act.

“All NLRB enforcement actions against Amazon have been consistent with that Congressional mandate,” she said.

In other objections, Amazon targeted how the labor agency conducted the election. It said the agency failed to control media presence around the voting area and didn’t have enough staff and equipment, which the company says created long lines and “discouraged many employees from voting in subsequent polling sessions.”

Meanwhile, both Amazon and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a union that spearheaded a separate union drive in Bessemer, Alabama, have filed objections to that election. The final outcome of the union vote in Alabama is still up in the air with 416 outstanding challenged ballots in the balance. Initial results show the union down by 118 votes, with the majority of Amazon warehouse workers rejecting a bid to form unionize.

RWDSU, which filed more than 20 objections, said in its filing Thursday that its objections are “grounds to set the election aside.”

A hearing to review the challenged ballots is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

2 days ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

3 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

5 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

5 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

6 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

6 days ago

Amazon seeks to overturn union win, says vote was tainted