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Staten Island Amazon workers shelve union effort

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A group of Amazon warehouse staffers on Staten Island have withdrawn their petition to hold a unionization vote – a huge setback in a growing push to bring organized labor to the nation’s largest online retailer.

The group, known as the Amazon Labor Union, dropped its petition Friday after the National Labor Relations Board informed them it hadn’t gather the necessary signatures from 30 percent of staffers who are eligible to vote.

Chris Smalls, president of the group and a former employee at the Staten Island warehouse, told Reuters “we will resubmit” an application “as soon as we can.”

The group, which is not affiliated with a major national union, filed its petition last month, joining union campaigns underway at Amazon facilities in Alabama and Canada.

At the time, Smalls said more than 2,000 workers had signed authorization cards. However, Amazon said there’s more than 9,600 workers at the Staten Island facility.

Smalls, a former Amazon employee of more than four years, was fired from the company last year after participating in protests against the company’s COVID-19 policies. He claimed his firing was illegal retaliation for his participation in protests, but Amazon said he violated company safety guidelines.

Chris Smalls, president of the group and a former employee at the Staten Island warehouse, said “we will resubmit” an application “as soon as we can.”
Chris Smalls, president of the group and a former employee at the Staten Island warehouse, said “we will resubmit” an application “as soon as we can.”
AP

Amazon’s handling of the situation sparked a lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who accused the company of retaliation, and an investigation by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement that the company is focused on “listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf.”

With Post wire services.

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