After a months-long campaign, a labor union that had been attempting to organize an Amazon facility in Staten Island, New York (known as its JFK8 facility) came out ahead in a representation election, according to news reports today. The nascent Amazon Workers Union garnered 2,654 votes in favor versus 2,131 against representation in the election, which was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). However, as this blog previously observed, overseeing the election wasn’t exactly the NLRB’s only role.
On March 17 — just days before the election was to start — an NLRB Regional Director filed a petition in federal court seeking an injunction under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The petition asked the court to force Amazon to rehire an employee who had been fired from his job – and for strong reasons – but some observers questioned the timing of the petition, especially given the fact that the erstwhile employee’s dismissal had occurred almost two years before.
Now that the votes have been counted, it would seem the NLRB’s action in filing the court petition had the desired effect of casting the company in a bad light right before voting started. Given that the vote margin represents roughly 10% of all votes cast, it is not unreasonable to seriously question whether the timing of the NLRB petition swayed just enough voters to swing the election – which is decidedly not the role the agency is supposed to play in these matters.
Despite this latest development, the vote announced today was just one step in what could still be a long process – stay tuned.
Story by Sean P. Redmond, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Sean P. Redmond is Vice President, Labor Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.