Amazon Labor Union took on Amazon for another union case, but saw its effort defeated by a large margin.
Despite a guerrilla grassroots union drive against the largest online retailer and ensuing public support from the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, the latest effort fell short for Amazon Labor Union, or ALU. On Monday, the National Labor Relations Board held the vote count for a second Amazon facility, LDJ5 warehouse, in Staten Island. Out of roughly 1,600 eligible voters, 618 voters voted against union representation while 380 voters voted in favor of union representation under the ALU.
The challenged ballots are not determinative, so the favor goes to Amazon. The results of this count are yet to be certified pending petitions. Any objections to the election are due within five business days, or next Monday.
“No matter the outcome of the election, workers are uniting for change at LDJ5, JFK8 & around the world,” ALU wrote on Twitter, pointing to the millions spent by mega-corporations on what it claimed are “union-busting and fear tactics.”
“We’re glad that our team at LDJ5 were able to have their voices heard. We look forward to continuing to work directly together as we strive to make every day better for our employees,” commented Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson.
The ALU achieved a historic victory last month when workers in the Staten Island JFK8 warehouse voted in favor of union recognition, although objections are being assessed. Out of 8,325 eligible voters, 2,654 voters voted in favor of union representation, while 2,131 voters voted against it. Challenged ballots were not sufficient to interfere with the results.
At a Gucci Chime for Change and The Meteor event held last month at Barnard College, Chris Smalls (who led the first successful unionization efforts for an Amazon facility in the U.S., at the Staten Island warehouse), said the ALU is in contact with “every [Amazon] building in the country,” furthering a nationwide push for unionization of Amazon warehouses. Smalls wants to implement unionization drives at Walmart, Target and Dollar General, too.
Amazon expressed disappointment at the earlier union victory, saying “we believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees.” Amazon evaluated options, including filing objections based on the “inappropriate” and “undue influence” by the NLRB.
Additional objections are indeed being brought forth to the NLRB. On Friday, the Regional Director of NLRB’s Region 28-Phoenix ordered a hearing over Amazon’s objections (on grounds of lack of neutrality) in the JFK8 election. This hearing is slated for May 23, and per NLRB protocol, the hearing will take place in Region 28 despite the region having no involvement in the pre-election or election.
In a report published last month, Amazon, Dollar General and Starbucks were among The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s “Dirty Dozen” for unsafe employers in 2022. In the case of Amazon, the council cited six deaths at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse (the site of an ongoing unionization drive). For the employer, injury rates are more than twice the industry average, per the report.
Amazon did not provide comment on the worker safety report.