Amazon workers get go-ahead for a second union election in New York -organizer

By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc workers at a Staten Island sortation center have been given the greenlight to hold a vote on whether to unionize, according to a labor advocate, in what would be a second potential union election for the retailer in New York.

The Amazon Labor Union has been notified by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that it had a sufficient showing of interest to hold a vote, said Christian Smalls, the group's leader and a former Amazon employee.

Smalls said at least 30% of about 1,500 people at the facility had signed cards delivered to the NLRB.

No Amazon worksite in the United States has voted in favor of unionizing during the company's 28-year history. As the second largest U.S. private employer, Amazon has long been a focus for labor advocates who hope that a single union victory will spark organizing efforts across the country.

Amazon said in a statement: "We look forward to having our employees’ voices heard. Our focus remains on working directly with our team to make Amazon a great place to work."

The company declined to answer a Reuters query as to whether it would dispute the cards' validity, which could delay or stop an election at the worksite, which is called LDJ5.

Smalls is also leading efforts to organize a bigger Amazon warehouse nearby, JFK8, whose workers will vote on whether to unionize starting March 25. Voting in a third contest - a rerun of last year's failed union organizing campaign at Amazon's warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama - is currently underway.

The series of elections "shows the power of workers when they come together," Smalls said in an interview.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto, Calif.; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)