The Staten Island Amazon Union can face difficult roads after a victory.Sanders visits Ocasio-Cortez

Senator Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Staten Island, NY, will meet the first successful union workers in the country on Sunday.

Amazon workers in Staten Island’s New York City Autonomous Region popped champagne, cheered on their victory, and danced to celebrate. However, their cheerful attitude is tested by companies that are likely to get stuck at the negotiating table.

In particular, the early Amazon Labor Union (ALU) said it wanted to extend breaks for warehouse employees, increase vacations, and significantly raise minimum hourly wages to $ 30. That’s from just over $ 18 an hour at the current Staten Island facility.

To achieve something close to that, grassroots unions will need to negotiate a contract with Amazon that both parties agree on, not just the members. It can be difficult to do so.

Amazon is trying to overturn the election, claiming in a submission to the National Labor Relations Commission this month that the vote was contaminated by the Brooklyn organizer who oversaw the election and the local office of the board.

On Friday, the company submitted material to support the objection in its submission to the agency. A Labor Relations Commission spokesman said the agency would not publish its submission while the proceedings were still open. Another NLRB Regional Office in the Southwest may hold a hearing and decide whether to certify the results.

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If Amazon’s efforts fail, it could appeal to the National Labor Board, where a majority of democracies are expected to support fledgling unions. However, companies often refuse to negotiate, even if government agencies support the union’s victory. This is a stance that can lead to long-term court battles in federal court as a backdoor way to prevent workers from winning.

According to data compiled in 2009 by Cornell University labor expert Kate Bronfenbrenner, less than half of unions won their first contract within a year of winning the election, with 30% signing a contract within three years. I didn’t get it.

In the meantime, time goes by as the workers are placed in uncertainties. John Logan, director of labor and employment research at San Francisco State University, said that anti-union companies have traditionally lost the election, but the fight isn’t really lost until the union contract is signed. It states that there is.

“Every opportunity has every incentive to slow down the process,” Logan said. “For years, law firms and consultants specializing in ongoing avoidance activities have clearly told employers that” time is on your side. ” “”

Even if Amazon fails in federal court, it can still cause contract delays and slow down some of the momentum that union victories can generate.

Chris Smalls, a dismissed Amazon worker who leads the Amazon trade union, has contacted the union about the organization of his workplace since the group won the election earlier this month. He said he did.

Sanders and Ocasio Cortez will also meet with an adjacent Amazon warehouse on Staten Island. The warehouse has about 1,500 workers and is scheduled to hold its own union elections this week.

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Experts say that delays in contracts can frustrate such union campaigns and undermine employee confidence in organized work. As a result, contracts can be weakened and workers’ interest in organizing can be diminished.

If Amazon pursues a protracted court battle before agreeing to the deal, the number of warehouse employees who voted for the union will probably decrease.

Amazon is known for its high turnover-up to 73% in union warehouses in the last two years alone, according to a recent court submission by the company.

One way workers can push back is to adopt strikes. Of course, there are risks in itself. Michael Duff, a former NLRB lawyer who teaches at the University of Wyoming Law College, said Amazon could replace strikers with alternative workers, potentially unemployment for months or even years. rice field.

Some unions have the money to help unemployed strikers float. However, maintaining such support can be a burden to the union. It’s also difficult for workers to survive long strikes, Duff said, as employers are familiar with.

Connor Spence, an Amazon employee who is ALU’s vice president of membership, states that early unions are ready to put pressure on the company by insisting through the news media and evoking public sympathy. According to a Gallup survey in August, the union’s official approval is at its highest level since 1965.

ALU organizers who recently appeared in a virtual event with Labor Party longtime defender Sanders will also try to convince lawmakers to rely on retailers, Spence said.

“But in the end, it works as a collective action,” Spence said.

Organizers could roll out strikes and strikes to disrupt Amazon’s business on Staten Island, Spence said, and said strikes have occurred at other Amazon facilities in recent months. The group also plans to set up a strike fund using donations collected through the GoFundMe page.

For now, the organizers are focusing on a rematch with Amazon at a warehouse on the adjacent Staten Island known as LDJ5. Victory there will give Amazon workers additional leverage in the event of potential strikes and strikes.

Amazon and its CEO Andy Jassy said they believe it’s up to employees to decide whether or not to join the union, but it’s better not to join.

To emphasize that claim, the company continues to hold compulsory anti-union meetings for workers. This is a practice that the Labor Relations Commission’s Supreme Prosecutor is trying to outlaw.

Organizers have previously accused Amazon of confiscating union leaflets from the LDJ5 warehouse. Last week, the union filed a complaint with NLRB, alleging that Amazon illegally banned the display of union support signs in break rooms. According to the organizers, workers were able to display the same sign at JFK8, a nearby facility that voted for the union.

Seth Goldstein, a lawyer who provides free legal support to the union, told workers that Amazon’s managers were against the company’s policy to display the sign, but identified the policy. Instead, he claimed to have threatened disciplinary action.

An Amazon spokesman said some workers “set up a banner in violation of company policy” but did not explain why the same banner was allowed to appear in a nearby warehouse. ..

“This is an information war,” said Madeline Wesley, one of the organizers working at the LDJ5 warehouse. “It’s not going to stop us, but we need to be a little careful. Make sure no one gets to the point where they get seriously disciplinary or start losing their jobs.”

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The Staten Island Amazon Union can face difficult roads after a victory.Sanders visits Ocasio-Cortez

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