Amazon Workers in NYC Vote to Reject Union

Retail giant fends off 2nd union win
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2022 3:19 PM CDT
Amazon Workers in NYC Vote to Reject Union
Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union looks on as Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally outside an Amazon facility on Staten Island in New York, Sunday, April 24, 2022.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Amazon warehouse workers rejected a union bid on Monday, dealing a blow to organizers who last month pulled off the first successful US organizing effort in the retail giant’s history. This time around, warehouse workers cast 618 votes—or about 62%—against the union, giving Amazon enough support to fend off a second labor win and raise questions as to whether the first victory was just a fluke, the AP reports. According to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees the process, 380 workers—or 38%—voted in favor of the grassroots union. Turnout was about 61%, with about 1,600 workers eligible to vote, according to a voter list provided by Amazon.

The few ballots that were challenged by either Amazon or the ALU were not enough to sway the outcome. Both parties may file objections to the election by next Monday. A separate election held last month gave a nascent group of organizers known as the Amazon Labor Union a surprise victory when workers at a different Staten Island facility voted in favor of unionizing. That was a first for Amazon in the US. Monday's defeat will surely sting. A second labor win was expected to fuel more organizing at the nation's second largest employer, and cement the power and influence of the ALU.

But despite the momentum following the group’s prior win, it was unclear if it could replicate its success. Organizers said they had lost some support at the warehouse after filing for an election in February because they directed more energy to the nearby facility that voted to unionize last month. There were also fewer organizers who worked in this facility—roughly 10, compared to the nearly 30 employed at the other warehouse. The same obstacles that plagued the effort the first time, including Amazon’s aggressive anti-union tactics, were at play again. In the lead-up to the election, Amazon continued to hold mandatory meetings to persuade its workers to reject the union effort, posted anti-union flyers, and launched a website urging workers to "vote NO."

(More Amazon stories.)

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