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Amazon’s largest warehouse on Staten Island is gearing up for a union battle

February 16, 2022, 10:33 PM UTC

The workers of JFK8, the largest of four Amazon warehouses on Staten Island, have agreed to vote on whether or not to unionize next month, according to a tweet from Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). 

He added that the election will take place in person between March 25 and March 30.

The National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency charged with protecting workers’ rights, has not yet confirmed the dates or method of the election. But NLRB spokesperson Elliot Becker said in a statement to Fortune that “The parties in the union election at the JFK8 Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, NY have tentatively reached a stipulated election agreement.”

The tentative election announcement caps off a months-long union campaign at JFK8. The ALU first filed a petition for an election to decide whether or not to form a union with the NLRB in October 2021, but had to withdraw due to insufficient signatures.

Smalls, who was fired in 2020 for what Amazon says was a violation of workplace safety policy when leading a walkout to protest unsafe working conditions, also tweeted a screenshot on Wednesday of a text message blast from Amazon to JFK8 workers announcing the dates.

The memo reads: “We encourage every eligible associate at JFK8 to vote in the election, make your voice heard, and vote NO”

In a statement to Fortune, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel cast doubt on whether or not the union actually had enough support to warrant an election, but confirmed that the company was planning for one regardless.  

“We remain skeptical that there are a sufficient number of legitimate signatures to support this election petition,” spokesperson Kelly Nantel wrote. “But since the NLRB has decided the election will proceed, we want our employees to have their voices heard as soon as possible. Our employees have always had a choice of whether or not to join a union, and our focus remains on working directly with our team to make Amazon a great place to work.”

If the election on Staten Island does happen during the last week of March, it will coincide with another union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama – a redo of a highly-publicized 2021 election that was deemed invalid by the NLRB due to the company’s allegedly illegal anti-union campaign practices. 

Ballots for that election are already out and the NLRB will begin counting them on March 28.

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