Today’s Cache | Amazon unfulfilled

Today’s Cache is a daily column on the happenings in the world of tech and corporations.

Updated - April 13, 2022 04:29 pm IST

Published - April 11, 2022 03:43 pm IST

File photo of people arriving for work at the Amazon warehouse in the Staten Island borough of New York.

File photo of people arriving for work at the Amazon warehouse in the Staten Island borough of New York.

In March, Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse workers went to vote on whether they should form a union or not. Their demands included increased break and lunch time, higher wages, and safer working conditions.

Workers cast 2,654 votes to be represented by Amazon Labour Union (ALU) and 2,131 against, according to the U.S. National Labour Relations Board (NLRB). This gave the pro-union group a win by more than 10 percentage points.

This is a significant win for Chris Smalls, an ex-Amazon worker at the JFK8 facility, who was ousted in 2020. The unit employs over 8,000 workers.

In his campaign, Smalls urged workers to disrupt Amazon’s plan to curtail union activities at the company. He used social media to name and shame union-busters to get his message across a large number of workers.

Amazon wanted to sabotage the labour movement by removing union-related material from its cafeteria. And it pasted its own posters on the walls, urging workers to vote against the formation of a union. But the union backers finally won.

The victory at JFK8 is pivotal as several labour union leaders see Amazon to be an existential threat to labour standards as it is linked to a wide range of industries.

For Amazon, the win is “disappointing”. So, it appealed the ALU win, and has accused the new union of threatening workers unless they voted to organise. An attorney for the labour group called Amazon’s accusation "really absurd".

The NLRB has given Amazon until April 22 to provide evidence to its objections. The company has requested extra time to back its case as its objections were "substantial," it said in a filing Wednesday.

In its objections, Amazon said that the ALU interfered with employees in line to vote, and that long waits hit turnout.

The company faces a high bar in showing that ALU violated rules on engaging with employees to influence outcome of the election as the NLRB usually treats companies’ alleged misdemeanour more seriously than the unions’.

To receive Today’s Cache in your inbox, click here to subscribe for free.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.