Amazon workers in California have withdrawn their request for a union vote after the defeat in New York



CNN business

Six months after the grassroots Amazon Labor Union scored a historic victory in becoming the first to unionize one of the US tech giant’s facilities, it now appears to be dealing with setbacks and delays.

Workers at an Amazon facility in California withdrew their request to unionize with the ALU late last week, just days after the labor group failed to win enough votes to unionize an Amazon facility in New York state.

Kayla Blado, a spokeswoman for the National Labor Relations Board, confirmed to CNN Business on Tuesday that the request for union elections at the ONT8 facility in Moreno Valley, California, had been withdrawn. Blado added that the petitioner need not provide the NLRB with a reason for doing so. The withdrawal move comes roughly two weeks after the petition was filed, according to the NLRB’s case filing.

In an email to CNN Business, ALU President Chris Smalls downplayed the withdrawn request. “Withdrawal is nothing to worry about,” he said. “We’re going to fill it again in the coming weeks like we did with the JFK8 campaign,” Smalls added, referring to the name of the union’s facility in Staten Island, New York.

Smalls did not provide a reason for the decision to withdraw the application and potentially resubmit.

Since the union’s win at JFK8, the ALU has been unsuccessful in organizing efforts at other Amazon facilities. In addition to Amazon workers near Albany voting against unionization last week, the ALU also failed to get enough votes to unionize a smaller Amazon post in Staten Island.

Additionally, Amazon has refused to recognize the union or meet at JFK8 — and continues to struggle to win union elections. Labor experts say the saga highlights how difficult it is to organize a union under current labor laws.

Amazon has long said it prefers to work directly with workers rather than through a union. After Albany-area workers voted against forming a union, an Amazon spokesman said the company was “pleased” to see that they “have chosen to maintain a direct relationship with Amazon that we believe is the best for our employees and our customers.”

Despite the uphill battle the union faces, Smalls told CNN Business that he sees increased organizing efforts at Amazon facilities across the country as his victory.

“ALU’s expansion is certainly historic in itself,” said Smalls. He added that the group has sparked an explosion of interest from Amazon workers across the country since the ALU won in Staten Island in April.