First Union Election at Amazon in US - "Micro-Unit Issue"

Document created by 1050210 on Oct 23, 2014
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Published Date: 02/03/2014


George; Ports

By George Ports


A small group of warehouse technicians at an Amazon distribution center in Middletown, Delaware voted in a recent union election against forming a union. The employees voted 21-6 against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).


The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered the election after IAM filed a petition on December 8, 2013 on behalf of the warehouse’s 30 technicians. This election is just another example of the NLRB allowing extremely small units to be designated for union election purposes. The technicians were carved out of approximately 1,500 employees at the distribution center.


One of the most significant elections regarding the “micro-unit issue” was the Specialty Healthcare election in which the NLRB overruled 20 years of practice on how it determines appropriate units based upon a “common community of interest” (similar wages, benefits, job functions and working conditions). The employer lost the election and appealed to the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee). The court upheld the NRLB’s decision and the election. This election set the stage for organized labor’s ability to organize smaller units in an organization, units that could consist of only one department or possibly even one job classification.


For additional information on the Amazon election, go to