Amazon Labor Union Jfk8 Win Contract Negotiations Expansion


Start Amazon Warehouse to Unionize in Staten Isle

Chris Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Marriage, marching with supporters at an Amazon distribution center in Staten Isle after delivering “Authorization of Representation” forms to the National Labor Relations Board.
Photograph: Craig Ruttle/AP/Shutterstock

In a historic feat, Amazon workers in a Staten Island fulfillment center have voted to unionize with the Amazon Labor Union. Friday’southward ii,654-2,131 vote makes JFK8 the first Amazon warehouse in the country to unionize. The news is made even more than remarkable by Amazon’s delivery to crushing the spousal relationship drive.

Amazon tried everything. When Chris Smalls outset led a walkout at his Staten Island fulfillment center in 2020, protesting dangerous weather condition on the job, Amazon fired him so tried to smear him. “He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, nosotros volition exist in a much stronger PR position than just explaining for the umpteenth time how nosotros’re trying to protect workers,” Amazon full general counsel David Zapolsky wrote in notes from a meeting with fellow executives. When Smalls and Amazon workers formed the independent Amazon Labor Union to organize the Staten Isle facility where he one time worked, Amazon resorted to familiar union-busting tactics. But on Friday, Smalls and the Amazon Labor Union persevered.

A warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, could become the second to unionize after the National Labor Relations Lath finishes counting challenged ballots in a do-over election. Although the nos atomic number 82 in Bessemer now, the challenged ballots will exist formative — meaning there are enough of them to potentially change the event of the ballot. If this happens, workers in Alabama will be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Matrimony, or RWDSU. The Amazon Labor Matrimony is not affiliated with any other union, having been formed by Smalls and NYC-based Amazon workers explicitly to unionize a drove of Amazon facilities on Staten Island.

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The odds didn’t favor the Amazon Labor Union. Amazon can and does dedicate millions of dollars to its union-busting efforts, and its willingness to violate labor laws can put unions at a disadvantage. RWDSU discovered this concluding year, after its kickoff endeavour to unionize the Bessemer facility failed at election. All the same Amazon’s tactics may be beginning to backfire. The NLRB ordered a 2nd ballot in Bessemer over the company’s aggressive and even illegal tactics; this yr, the margins are much closer, which is why the challenged ballots are determinative. In Staten Island, its entrada against Smalls and his comrades fabricated a persuasive case for unionization. The company even had Smalls and 2 others arrested for delivering food to its workers. The message was incommunicable to misunderstand: Challenge us and nosotros’ll crush you.

Workers apparently didn’t similar what they heard or saw. Then they voted to unionize, despite Amazon’southward money and power and threats. ALU’southward success will generate much discussion within the labor move, and it should. The scrappy new union prevailed where conventional wisdom suggests it should have failed. It lacks the infrastructure or organizing experience associated with unions like RWDSU. Yet its tailored focus on the JFK8 warehouse plain paid off and, in the procedure, created a model that could exist replicated elsewhere by ALU, an established union, or other contained unions that have yet to form.

In a statement released afterwards the ballots were tallied, Amazon said it was “disappointed” past the results of the election “because we believe having a straight human relationship with the company is best for our employees.” It added, “We’re evaluating our options, including filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence by the NLRB that we and others (including the National Retail Federation and U.Southward. Chamber of Commerce) witnessed in this ballot.”

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ALU’s work is far from done. American labor law is weak, and employers much smaller than Amazon tin can elevate out contract fights for years. ALU has embarrassed Amazon, and the visitor will likely rely on familiar tactics to stall the process of bargaining its offset contract as long as it can. All the same, information technology won’t be able to stave off progress forever. The company may be a behemoth, but it has weaknesses, and workers tin defeat information technology if they organize.

This piece has been updated to include comment from Amazon.

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Amazon Labor Union Jfk8 Win Contract Negotiations Expansion