A group of Amazon workers at a Moreno Valley fulfillment center who want to join the independent Amazon Labor Union have withdrawn a petition to hold a union election just weeks after launching their campaign, the National Labor Relations Board confirmed.
The move to withdraw the petition on Friday came after Amazon expressed doubts about whether organizers wanting to unionize the company’s ONT8 fulfillment center had collected enough worker signatures to hold a union election. To hold an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, unions must demonstrate that they have collected signatures of support from at least 30% of eligible workers.
Union leaders described the move as a temporary setback and not a signal that the workers’ group, which calls itself United 4 Change ONT8, is ending the union push.
The group submitted the election application on October 10. On November 11, workers at an Amazon facility in California had officially campaigned for a union election for the first time. In the petition, the Amazon Labor Union said it wanted to represent an 800-worker unit.
Amazon sent a letter to the NLRB on October 10. 18 formal challenge to ONT8 election application. The company disputed that number of 800 workers and said the actual number of current Amazon employees in the unit at ONT8 is 2,645, more than triple the size union organizers estimated, a lawyer representing Amazon said in a statement from October 14th. 20 Deposit with the NLRB.
Therefore, with a significantly larger pool of workers eligible to vote, it is “highly unlikely” that the Amazon Labor Union has successfully collected signatures in support of at least 30%, Amazon’s lawyer wrote.
Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls and Nannette Plascencia, a worker at ONT8 who leads union efforts at the facility, said the group plans to resubmit their election bid in a few weeks.
Smalls said in an email that Amazon, which cast doubt on workers’ support for the union, “is just Amazon using it as a tactic to bust the union.” He said the petition’s withdrawal was part of a necessary process and that his union had made similar motions in another campaign and still secured an election victory.
The withdrawal is “no cause for concern,” Smalls said.
Submitting an election application early “was a helpful step” in obtaining accurate data on ONT8’s workforce; He said the union could now “resubmit if we think best”.
The Amazon Labor Union similarly withdrew its original election bid during its union campaign at an Amazon facility in Staten Island called JFK8. The NLRB had informed the union that it had not collected enough workers’ signatures; the union rightsuccessfully submitted the application in January, about two months later.
The Amazon Labor Union won a landmark union election at the JFK8 plant in April — the first successful union organizing effort at one of the company’s US warehouses.
So far the union has failed to secure a second victory, losing an election at neighboring facility LDJ5 in May and another in Albany last week.
Amazon has long discouraged unions and has been repeatedly accused of engaging in anti-union tactics that violate federal law.
Amazon spokesman Paul Flaningan said in an email that the company was informed on Friday that the ONT8 election application had been withdrawn.
“We remain focused on listening directly to our employees and continually improving on their behalf,” Flaningan said.