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Amazon hit with labor complaint over failing to bargain with Staten Island union

Amazon workers arrive with paperwork to unionize at the National Labor Relations Board office in Brooklyn, New York, Oct. 25, 2021.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

The National Labor Relations Board said Tuesday it found merit to charges that Amazon violated labor laws by refusing to bargain with a fledgling union representing employees at one of its New York warehouses.

In an order issued by a regional director in the NLRB’s Brooklyn office, the agency said it’s seeking remedies, including ordering Amazon to “bargain in good faith” with the Amazon Labor Union, and to make whole the bargaining-unit employees for the lost opportunity to negotiate at the time and manner they’re entitled to under national labor law.

Workers at one of the retail giant’s Staten Island warehouses, known as JFK8, voted last April to join the Amazon Labor Union, a grassroots organization started by current and former employees. Since that win, the group has been fighting to reach a contract with Amazon. The battle has spilled over into the courts, where the company continues to challenge the results, as well as the NLRB and the union’s conduct during the election. The agency upheld the results of the election in January.

The ALU has urged Amazon to begin contract talks multiple times since last April, but the company has routinely refused, to “test the certification of the union as the exclusive collective-bargaining representative” of employees, the agency said in its order.

Representatives from Amazon didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The NLRB complaint comes as the ALU has faced setbacks since its landmark victory on Staten Island. The ALU lost two elections at other Amazon warehouses last year, and rifts have formed between some leaders and members of the union. On Monday, a group of former ALU members sued the union, accusing it of violating the ALU’s constitution and asking a Brooklyn court to compel it to hold an election for union officers. Lawyers for the ALU told the group, called the ALU Democratic Reform Caucus, that the lawsuit was frivolous and false, according to The New York Times.

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