Amazon workers in Staten Island voted to unionize on Friday, marking the first successful US organizing effort in the retail giant’s history, per the AP. Votes were still being tabulated, but union supporters secured a wide enough margin to give the fledgling Amazon Labor Union enough support to pull off a victory. The votes that were either voided or contested by either Amazon or the ALU did not appear to be enough to sway the outcome. More than 8,300 eligible workers cast their ballots. Amazon provides the list of eligible workers to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees the process. The Washington Post calls the outcome "historic" and a "major victory for the domestic labor movement."
The victory was an uphill battle for the independent group, made up of former and current workers who lacked official backing from an established union and were out-gunned by the deep-pocketed retail giant. Despite obstacles, organizers believed their grassroots approach was more relatable to workers and could help them overcome where established unions have failed in the past. Meanwhile, Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, appear to have rejected a union bid, though outstanding challenged ballots could change the outcome. The votes were 993-to-875 against the union. A hearing to review 416 challenged ballots is expected to begin in the next few days.
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