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Amazon workers in SI walk out during holiday rush, revive union push

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island revived their push for union representation and staged a walkout on Wednesday in protest of what they said are unfair labor practices during the breakneck holiday shipping rush. Workers at four Staten Island facilites staged a “lunchtime walkout,” slamming “unfair labor practices committed by Amazon” including illegal interference with union organizing, according to a statement from activists. Union organizers also filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado told The Post on Thursday. If the NLRB verifies that at least 30 percent of eligible workers signed the petition, it will move forward and schedule a union election, Blado said. A video shared on Twitter by organizer Christian Smalls showed organizers distributing flyers promoting the walkout and gathering food to distribute to employees. Workers also rallied in Times Square on Wednesday night, according to videos shared by organizers. Amazon Labour Union @amazonlabor rally in Times Square led by Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazon Employees shared stories of working conditions and announced their petition for an Union election has been refiled. #amazon #labour #union #employees #workers #newyorkcity— Adrian (@ALChildress_) December 23, 2021 Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the organizing effort or walkout. The moves come amid increased scrutiny of how Amazon treats its employees and contractors. During deadly tornadoes in Illinois earlier this month, one Amazon delivery worker was reportedly ordered to “keep driving” despite hearing sirens warning of an impending twister. Six people were also killed when a tornado struck an Amazon warehouse during the same bout of storms. Researchers have shown that Amazon workers and delivery drivers are far more likely to be injured on the job than employees of competitors like Walmart and UPS. Wednesday is not the first time that Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island have pushed for a union. In October, more than 2,000 workers from four warehouses signed a union petition and called for higher wages, safer working conditions and more paid time off among other demands. But in November, organizers withdrew that petition after the NLRB said they hadn’t met the threshold of 30 percent of eligible employees to qualify for a union election. In an effort to prevent the union petition falling flat this time around, organizers are focusing on a single warehouse rather than all four Staten Island facilities, Smalls told The New York Times. Elsewhere in Jeff Bezos’ empire, workers at an Amazon facility in Alabama voted against forming a union this April. However, the NLRB has ruled that Amazon interfered with the initial vote and has ordered a new election in 2022.

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