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Amazon Workers Renew Union Push On Staten Island

"Today, Amazon workers in Staten Island WALKED OUT in protest of the unfair labor practices committed by the company," the union group wrote on Twitter.

After an earlier push for a vote didn't get enough signatures, Amazon ( (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report) workers at a major warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y., have refiled the petition to unionize.

Back in November, the National Labor Relations Board rejected a vote petition by the Amazon Labor Union. 

A small workers rights group independent of any national union, ALU had initially failed to get the necessary written support from 30% of the 5,000+ eligible workers at the warehouse.

This Wednesday, the union announced that it was refiling the petition after securing "thousands" of new signatures. The union still has to submit certain documents and gain approval in order to go forward with a vote.

"Today, Amazon workers in Staten Island WALKED OUT in protest of the unfair labor practices committed by the company and to demand better working conditions," ALU Wrote in a tweet announcing the petition that was sent to the warehouse's site leader.

The push for unionization first began as the pandemic exacerbated demand for online shopping and quick delivery. 

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As Amazon ramped up hiring to meet this demand, workers at an Alabama warehouse started speaking out about unsafe conditions and overwork.

Those efforts were defeated in April, but the push for a vote is still ongoing — the National Labor Relations Board later found that Amazon had engaged in interference by discouraging employees from voting. 

Amazon, which did not immediately return a request for comment, has been aggressively fighting back against negative PR around worker treatment and, according to the union groups, worker organizing. 

In the letter, the group accuses Amazon of "unfair labor practices" that include "illegal interference in union organization activities such as coercive captive audience meetings and the unfair firing of Daequan Smith." 

A former warehouse worker who had been traveling to the job from a Bronx homeless shelter, Smith was reportedly fired by Amazon over what the group says was participation in the union efforts.

Anti-union moves by corporations often come from a place of fear over worker mobilization over systemic issues and its tendency to spread — a protest against worker conditions at three Starbucks ( (SBUX) - Get Starbucks Corporation Report) locations in Buffalo, N.Y. has led to the country's first Starbucks union and similar efforts in Arizona and Massachusetts.