Tip Sheets

Staten Island Amazon union filing shows ‘lack of experience’

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub

Amazon workers at four warehouses on Staten Island have filed a petition to form a union. Following the announcement, the company said they were “skeptical” enough legitimate signatures were gathered.

Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research and a senior lecturer at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, is an expert on union and employer strategies in organizing and bargaining in the global economy.

She says Amazon’s skepticism about signatures is a tactic designed to tarnish the image of the union. However, she adds filing with only 30 percent of workers shows a lack of experience and likely won’t bode well for the campaign.

Kate Bronfenbrenner

Director of Labor Education Research

"Amazon is running a typical employer anti-union campaign. However, the company’s questioning of the legitimacy of the signatures appears more designed to tarnish the image of the union than delay the union campaign. The NLRB has already determined that the union has reached the threshold of 30 percent and is moving forward to determine who will be eligible to vote in the election.

"The union running the campaign is a small independent union, so they will not be vulnerable to the attack as the 'third party' outsider, which Amazon used so effectively during the campaign. But that was just one tactic in Amazon’s arsenal. It has plenty more where that came from.

“This campaign is taking on one of the richest – and largest – anti-union, global companies in the world. That requires an experienced, international union with deep political, community, and labor ties, locally, nationally, and internationally. The lack of experience was evident right out of the gate to file with 30 percent. The majority of campaigns that win file with more than 70 percent so that they have enough to withstand turnover and employer opposition. Campaigns that file with 30 percent do not win.”

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