Amazon workers at 100 more facilities want to organize: Amazon Labor Union president

Employees at 100+ US Amazon (AMZN) Plants have contacted Amazon Labor Union (ALU) President Chris Smalls about unionizing their workplaces since a historic union victory at a Staten Island warehouse a week ago, Smalls told Yahoo Finance on Friday.

Smalls, a former Amazon warehouse worker who led the Staten Island organizing campaign, said he plans to hold a “national call” with workers at Amazon facilities within the next two weeks.

When asked if he intends to personally visit some facilities and help organize them, Smalls said, “Absolutely.”

Smalls’ comments come a day after a filing was published by Amazon. Revealing the company’s plans to file a formal objection to the union election at an 8,000-worker warehouse on Staten Island. Amazon will allege that the ALU and the National Labor Relations Board illegally interfered with the vote by compromising workers’ rights to a free and fair election, the filing said.

That submission alleges that the ALU threatened and forced workers to vote “yes” and interfered with the workers while they were queuing to vote.

ALU did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the company’s proposed objections.

Eric Milner, an attorney representing ALU, previously said the Associated Press that the proposed objections were “manifestly absurd”.

“Staff have spoken and their voices have been heard,” Milner said in a statement. “Amazon chooses to ignore this and instead engage in delaying tactics to avoid the inevitable — to come to the negotiating table and negotiate a contract” on behalf of Staten Island warehouse workers.

Meanwhile, the retail, wholesale and department store union on Thursday filed an objection to Amazon’s alleged interference in a separate union election held last week at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. Union opponent currently lead Union supporters up 118 votes in this election, but 416 contested votes remain outstanding.

FILE – Chris Smalls, President of the Amazon Labor Union, joins supporters at the Amazon distribution center in the Staten Island borough of New York Monday, October 25, 2021 as he possesses “Authorization of Representation” forms previously given to him were delivered to the National Labor Relations Board in New York. Amazon is gearing up for its toughest industrial action yet, with two separate union elections coming up next week that could add momentum to the latest wave of organizing efforts across the country. Warehouse workers in Staten Island, NY, and Bessemer, Alabama, decide whether or not to form a union. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, file)

The stunning victory of a worker-led, crowdfunded union on Staten Island about the country’s second-largest employer last Friday, reaching the first US union in Amazon’s 28-year history.

Following the victory, some prominent union leaders have expressed support for Amazon to continue organizing. Smalls and ALU Vice President Derrick Palmer met in Washington DC on Thursday with Sean O’Brien, President of the 1.2 million-strong International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the one ambitious campaign last year to organize Amazon workers nationwide.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Smalls said the Teamsters plan to provide ALU with “informal resources.”

Teamsters spokeswoman Kara Deniz described Thursday’s meeting as “really productive.” The Teamsters welcome the opportunity to provide resources in support of the ALU’s push for an initial union contract at the Amazon facility, Deniz said. She said she was not aware of any additional commitments from Teamsters to support other ALU organizations.

Amazon operates more than 110 department stores nationwide, employing hundreds of thousands of workers. In total, the company operates more than 1,000 logistics centers and other facilities across the country The New York Times reported.

The aluminium released a statement on Saturday with a request to begin contract negotiations for the Staten Island facility in early May. When asked about the speed with which negotiations were handled, pro bono ALU attorney Seth Goldstein said, “Amazon always describes itself as agile and innovative, which we think is perfectly reasonable for an organization like Amazon with so many attorneys and recruiters is and something that should be done because our members want to come to an agreement.”

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the contract negotiations.

Update: In a previous version of this article, Teamsters spokeswoman Kara Deniz said that Teamsters welcome the opportunity to financially support ALU’s push for an initial contract. Story updated to clarify that the Teamsters welcome the opportunity to provide support, which may or may not include financial support.

Max Zahn is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Find him on Twitter @MaxZahn_.

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