Craig Ruttle / AP
NEW YORK – The National Labor Relations Board has confirmed that a group of Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, have withdrawn their request to hold a union vote.
The move comes less than two weeks before the board of directors was expected to hold a hearing to determine whether there was sufficient interest in forming a union at the Amazon Distribution Center.
NLRB spokeswoman Kayla Blado declined to elaborate on the reason for the withdrawal. But she noted that workers can resubmit a petition.
Union organizers had said in late October that they had delivered more than 2,000 signed union support cards to NLRB’s Brooklyn office after starting efforts in April. It is a big step in approving a vote that could set up the first union at the country’s largest online retailer.
As part of the request to hold a vote, the organizers must submit signatures from at least 30% of the approximately 5,500 employees that the union says work at four adjacent Amazon plants that it seeks to represent during collective bargaining.
This is the second union attempt in the last year at Amazon. Workers in Alabama defeated an attempt earlier this year, but organizers there are asking federal officials for a do-over. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Association is leading the effort in Alabama.
The union in New York City operates without the help of a national sponsor and is led by a former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls. He said he was fired just hours after organizing a walkout last year to protest working conditions at the start of the pandemic. Smalls could not be reached immediately for comment.
Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in an email that “our focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continually improving on their behalf.”