On Thursday, February 24, a group of Amazon.com Inc workers seeking to create a union in New York filed a charge with U.S. labor inspectors after a high-profile organizer and two employees were arrested outside a company warehouse.
Christian Smalls, an Amazon activist, said on Wednesday, February 23, that he was arrested while delivering food to warehouse workers as part of the union drive, he is leading.
His pursuit to make Amazon’s JFK8 Staten Island warehouse a unionized facility will come to a head when workers vote starting Friday, March 25.
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The biased labor practice charge filed on Thursday, February 24 by a group of workers known as the Amazon Labor Union claims Amazon sullied a settlement reached with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in December.
As part of the settlement, Amazon pledged not to limit workers’ facilities to engage with their colleagues in non-work areas during non-work time.
“Amazon.com Services has violated the National Settlement agreement,” the Amazon Labor Union stated in the charge. “Accordingly, we request an expedited investigation and immediate … relief in light of the upcoming election.”
In the charge, Amazon Labor Union alleges Amazon had employees Brett Daniels and Jason Anthony arrested on Wednesday in retaliation for their involvement with the union.
Smalls previously worked at the warehouse and was fired in 2020 for allegedly violating company safety policies.
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said, “the settlement pertains to the rights of employees to solicit on the company’s property, and we did nothing to stop employees from soliciting.” Amazon called the police on Smalls, and not the other two workers”
He added: “Mr. Smalls – who is not employed by Amazon – has repeatedly trespassed despite multiple warnings. Yesterday, when police officers asked Mr. Smalls to leave, he instead chose to escalate the situation and the police made their own decision on how to respond,”
A second closely watched election is occurring at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, with vote-by-mail being accepted until Friday, March 25 and the vote count starting Monday, March 28.
Earlier this week, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) condemning Amazon of illegitimately interfering in the election.
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