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Amazon union organizers rally after their win

Union organizer Christian Smalls speaks following the April 1, 2022 vote for the unionization of the Amazon Staten Island warehouse in New York. (Photo: Andrea Renault/AFP via Getty Images)

Amazon Union Slams Company Effort to Bar Public From Election Hearing

"Maybe they're seeing that worker testimony is more credible than they thought," the Amazon Labor Union said in response to the company's new motion with the NLRB.

Jake Johnson

Amazon's lawyers filed a motion on Tuesday urging the National Labor Relations Board to bar the public—and potentially members of the press—from tuning in to a hearing next week at which the company is set to lay out its case for why the historic union victory at the JFK8 warehouse in New York should be overturned.

According to the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon executive chairman and former CEO Jeff Bezos, the company argues in its motion that "because the hearing is being held on Zoom, it makes it difficult to know if witnesses who aren't supposed to be able to observe the proceedings are in attendance, or if the hearing is being recorded and shared with those witnesses."

"This motion won't pass and hundreds of JFK8 workers are dying to see this trial."

"Amazon declined to comment and did not immediately respond to questions about whether members of the media would be permitted to attend the hearing if the company's motion is granted," the Post noted. "The motion, which requests that the general public be barred from attending, specifies the parties that Amazon says should be allowed to attend the full proceeding, including witnesses and legal teams, does not explicitly mention members of the media."

The Amazon Labor Union (ALU), the worker-led group that spearheaded the successful organizing drive at JFK8, characterized the company's motion as a cynical attempt to advance its slew of unfounded election objections behind closed doors. NLRB hearings are usually in person and open to the public.

"Maybe they're seeing that worker testimony is more credible than they thought," ALU tweeted late Tuesday. "This motion won't pass and hundreds of JFK8 workers are dying to see this trial."

ALU attorney Seth Goldstein said of Amazon's motion that he has "never heard of this happening before."

"This is fantasy," Goldstein told the Post. "It again shows that Amazon is out of touch with the importance of transparency so that everybody understands what is happening."

Amazon's motion came after the company succeeded in transferring the JFK8 case from the NLRB's Brooklyn office—which oversaw the election—to its Phoenix office.

Cornele Overstreet, the NLRB's regional director in Phoenix, said in a filing last month that Amazon's objections "could be grounds for overturning the election."

Amazon, which waged an aggressive union-busting campaign that has drawn legal action from the NLRB, has accused the union of "electioneering in the polling area" and distributing marijuana to workers in exchange for their support, among other objections.

The union has denied Amazon's allegations and voiced confidence that the NLRB will ultimately reject Amazon's case.

"We're disappointed that Amazon is attempting to overturn the democratic voice of over 2,600 of its own workers," Cassio Mendoza, a worker at the Staten Island warehouse and an ALU organizer, said after Amazon first outlined its objections in April.

"The entire world knows that the workers won our election,"  Mendoza added, "and we look forward to sitting down with Amazon... to negotiate a fair contract for the workers at JFK8."

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