Unifor withdraws Amazon union applications, citing ‘suspiciously high’ employee data

Unifor withdraws Amazon union applications, citing 'suspiciously high' employee data © Provided by The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Unifor says it’s temporarily withdrawing its applications to represent workers at two Vancouver-area Amazon facilities, accusing the e-commerce giant of providing a “suspiciously high” employee count.

The union announced last week it had filed two applications with the B.C. Labour Relations Board to represent workers at fulfilment centres in New Westminster and Delta.

“We’re not going anywhere. Unifor is committed to the hundreds of workers at Amazon who have signed a confidential union card and will re-double our efforts in the coming weeks,” said Unifor western regional director Gavin McGarrigle in the press release.

Unifor says B.C. law doesn’t make employers provide an employee count during a union drive, meaning unions have to guess how many signed cards they need before applying for certification.

If the signed cards represent more than 55 per cent of the eligible workforce at a facility, union certification is granted, while if the cards represent at least 45 per cent, a vote may be called instead, the law says.

Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said the company is confident it provided the board with accurate and complete information.

The union said it plans to re-apply to the labour board.

“Make no mistake: workers at Amazon in Metro Vancouver are closer than ever to successfully forming a union,” said McGarrigle.

Unifor said it has repeatedly called for changes to the B.C. Labour Relations Code to improve employer transparency during the unionization process.

“When working people are up against giant, well-funded multinational employers, we need more tools to help level the playing field,” McGarrigle said in the release.

The union first announced a union drive for Amazon workers in Metro Vancouver last July, and said workers began signing cards in October.

When Unifor announced its applications last week, Agrait said Amazon looks forward to working with employees to “continue making Amazon a great place to work.”

Source: The Canadian Press