Amazon Union Loses Vote at 2d Staten Island Warehouse
The results were a setback for the upstart Amazon Labor Union, which won a landmark victory last calendar month at a larger Amazon warehouse nearby.
The growing labor organizing efforts at Amazon were dealt a blow on Monday when workers voted by a wide margin to pass up joining a union at a warehouse on Staten Island, simply weeks later on the marriage won a landmark victory at a larger facility nearby.
Employees cast 380 votes to be represented by the union and 618 against, co-ordinate to the National Labor Relations Board. About 1,600 workers at the warehouse were eligible to vote.
For Amazon, the overwhelming win may temper fears amongst executives that unionization could take off across its work force. The visitor, which has raised wages and spent millions of dollars on anti-union campaigns, depends on a steady stream of hourly workers.
The result was a setback for the upstart Amazon Labor Marriage, which scored an confronting-all-odds win terminal month at the larger, nearby Amazon warehouse. The loss too points to the possible limits of an uptick in worker interest in unionizing at Amazon and beyond.
Over the six months ending in March, filings for matrimony elections increased about 60 percentage from the same period i year earlier. That trend has included companies that frequently hire more than-educated workers into nonprofessional jobs, like Starbucks and the outdoor equipment chain REI. But labor experts and organizers say information technology can be harder to unionize workers who are less economically secure, since they may be more than susceptible to pressure from an employer and more reluctant to risk getting involved in a wedlock campaign.
While the union campaign that succeeded at the larger Amazon warehouse last month included a large fraction of total-fourth dimension workers, a higher proportion of workers at the smaller facility are part time. Many say they can’t become plenty hours to pay their bills. Just some workers said before the vote that they were skeptical the union could deliver on goals it had laid out, such every bit a $thirty-per-hr wage.
Amazon says that its flexible function-fourth dimension scheduling is attractive for many workers and that its average starting wage is to a higher place $18 an hour.
The employees whose votes were counted on Monday work at LDJ5. It is 1 of a cluster of warehouses on Staten Island that Amazon opened in the past several years to serve customers in the critical market of New York Urban center, making information technology the largest individual employer in the borough.
“We’re glad that our team at LDJ5 were able to have their voices heard,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a argument. “We look forrad to continuing to work directly together every bit we strive to make every day ameliorate for our employees.”
Speaking to supporters outside the labor lath’s office in Brooklyn, where the votes were tallied, Derrick Palmer, who co-founded the marriage, said the union would keep pushing.
“In that location’s no fashion nosotros’re going to stop or allow this bring us down,” he said. “It’s going to practise the complete opposite. We’re going to go 10 times harder.”
A year ago, workers at the largest facility, which Amazon calls JFK8, began trying to form an independent union, without deep ties to organized labor, to represent the thousands of employees at the massive fulfillment middle who pick and pack items into boxes for individual orders. Workers voted in favor of unionizing past a margin of almost 11 percentage points, though Amazon is challenging the outcome.
That union, the Amazon Labor Union, began targeting a smaller, second edifice nearby, LDJ5, where workers take packed boxes and sort them by the customer’southward location before they head to an even smaller delivery depot or to a carrier.
Workers at both buildings share some concerns about pay and loftier turnover at Amazon. A New York Times investigation in June revealed attrition of almost 150 percentage a twelvemonth fifty-fifty earlier the pandemic upended work.
The union at JFK8 started as a scrappy try past two best friends that was supported via GoFundMe appeals. But after its victory in Apr at JFK8, the wedlock became an international sensation, and its leaders tried to apply their win to build momentum.
The leaders, Christian Smalls and Mr. Palmer, met with the heads of major labor unions, who vowed resources and support. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, rallied in front end of LDJ5 on Apr 24, the day before voting began.
At JFK8, workers oft have 10-hour shifts, if non longer, four days a calendar week, but at LDJ5, many work part time. The lack of full-time piece of work has become a common grievance, particularly since the location on Staten Island often requires long commutes.
Merely part-time workers are typically harder to organize because they interact less and take lower overall investment in their workplace. At Amazon, part-fourth dimension employees practice not get wellness care, but they practice take access to other benefits, similar 401(k) matching, that are not typically like at other role-time jobs.
Micheal Aguilar, an employee at the facility who was agile in supporting the union, said several co-workers he had gotten to know personally had confided that they voted no.
“Some of them are immature — I don’t think they fifty-fifty know what a union is,” Mr. Aguilar said, adding: “I believe they thought Amazon was merely a steppingstone, and so collect money from this identify and then become into their own careers. They didn’t understand why they would want it if it’s just temporary to them.”
The union pressed for the vote despite the fact that many of its pinnacle officials and organizers piece of work at JFK8 rather than the smaller facility, giving the group a weaker presence within. Organizers tried to counter this in the weeks before the voting by regularly spending a few hours talking to workers outside LDJ5 subsequently their shifts, but they conceded they did not have the same human relationship with workers there.
Amazon has objected to the JFK8 results, challenging not but the union’s tactics merely the independence of the labor lath. On Fri, an official at the bureau granted a hearing on all 25 of Amazon’south objections, saying they “could be grounds for overturning the election.”
Last year, when a different wedlock objected to its loss at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, the union was granted a hearing on more than 20 of its objections on similar grounds. After that hearing, the labor agency plant ii of the union’s concerns were widespread enough to affect the result of election and warrant throwing out the results. The upshot of a revote at that facility is up in the air awaiting 400 challenged ballots, with the wedlock trailing slightly subsequently an initial count.
Within LDJ5, Amazon stepped up and tweaked its anti-unionization campaign. Ofori Agboka, the vice president responsible for homo resources in Amazon’s operations globally, visited the building. He is not known to have visited JFK8 around the ballot in that location.
Organizers said that for much of the campaign at JFK8, Amazon had tried to paint the matrimony equally a “tertiary party” that would come between workers and management. Only that message fell flat considering the organizers were electric current and former workers. At LDJ5, the company instead sought to enhance doubts about the Amazon Labor Matrimony’s intentions and motives, sometimes by citing lines from the spousal relationship’s constitution.
For example, the constitution says workers can exist removed from the group if they interfere in the conduct of union business or don’t behave properly at meetings. Union officials say the company has misleadingly cited such provisions to stir up concerns among workers that the matrimony might carelessness them. Amazon did not comment.
Gene Bruskin, a longtime labor organizer who brash the Amazon Labor Union in the two Staten Isle elections, said that a win would have produced “a huge wind at their backs,” but that on some level the task facing the union remained the aforementioned either manner: to successfully negotiate a contract with Amazon that improves bounty and working atmospheric condition.
“It would exist better with a 2d unit of measurement, but in some ways it wouldn’t change,” Mr. Bruskin added. “What information technology’s going to have to convince Amazon to bargain a contract between 8,000 or nine,500 workers is not that dissimilar.”