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Union vote set for March at Staten Island Amazon

NEW YORK >> Amazon and a fledgling union of workers at its Staten Island warehouse agreed to terms of an election for late March, setting the stage for two major elections at Amazon warehouses at the same time.

The election at the Staten Island warehouse will be held in person March 25-30, according to Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee in Staten Island who is heading the organizing effort there. He tweeted a screenshot of a text message Amazon sent workers at the facility today with the same dates. The message urged workers to “vote NO.”

The timing of the vote coincides with an election at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, outside Birmingham.

Mail-in ballots for that election — a do-over after the National Labor Relations Board threw out a previous vote because of what it said was Amazon’s inappropriate interference — have gone out to workers and are due back by March 25. The labor agency has said it will start counting those ballots March 28, a process that could take several days.

The agency determined in late January that the new union in Staten Island, called Amazon Labor Union, had gathered enough signatures to show there was sufficient interest in holding an election. Amazon and the union reached an agreement over the logistics of the vote just before a hearing was set to start this morning.

The agency confirmed that a tentative settlement had been reached but did not provide details.

“It’s up to the workers now,” Smalls said. “We have the momentum. I have seen a very positive shift since we filed, and we are just hoping that we can keep that going.”

Kelly Nantel, a spokesperson for Amazon, said the company remained skeptical that there were enough “legitimate signatures” to support the election petition. She added that after the agency determined the election could 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,” she added, “and our focus remains on working directly with our team to make Amazon a great place to work.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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