Amazon workers in Albany vote against the union

Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center near Albany, New York, voted decisively against forming a union, rejecting a bid by organizers to create the company’s second unionized facility in the United States.

Workers at the ALB1 factory in Castleton were reportedly represented by the Amazon Labor Union, the same upstart group that won a historic election at the company’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island in New York earlier this year. The “no” votes came out on top by a margin of about 2 to 1.

Chris Smalls, president of the ALU, said in a statement that the voting process “was not free and fair”.

“It was a sham election where workers were daily intimidated and retaliated against and even workers who volunteered to be election observers faced threats of dismissal,” Smalls alleged.

He added, “It won’t be the end of ALU at ALB1.”

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement that the company “will continue to work directly with our teammates in Albany.”

“We are pleased that our team in Albany was able to make their voices heard and chose to maintain the direct relationship with Amazon, as we believe this is the best arrangement for our employees and our customers,” Nantel said. .

The union may choose to challenge the election results and demand a second vote, arguing that Amazon violated labor rights during the campaign. The National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that oversees private sector union elections, has yet to certify the results. The union would have one week to appeal.

The ALB1 facility handles large cargo that is shipped to customers and employs approximately 900 people. It is much smaller in number of employees than the Staten Island plant, which employs around 8,000 people.

After winning at JFK8, the ALU lost their second vote in May at another smaller facility in New York. A loss at the facility near Albany would mark the union’s second defeat. The ALU recently filed a new election at a Southern California warehouse.

The vote count for ALB1 was conducted at the Labor Board office in Albany and broadcast to the public on Zoom.

Amazon workers and supporters march during a rally in Castleton-On-Hudson, New York.

The retail and tech giant is one of the largest U.S. employers facing a organizing wave At work. The NLRB recently said that workers have filed more petitions for union elections in the past fiscal year than since 2016. Companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, REI and Apple have all seen some of their American workforce to unionize for the first time in recent months.

Amazon, which today employs about one million American workers, has fought its employees’ organizing efforts for years. In 2021, he spent more than $4 million on union avoidance consultants who held group and one-on-one meetings intended to undermine union support. The ALU said the company held mandatory sessions at ALB1 where employees listened to anti-union speeches.

The NLRB General Counsel recently found the merits of the allegations of the union that Amazon violated the law by holding such meetings and threatening to withdraw certain benefits if the workers chose to unionize.

This story has been updated with comments from Amazon and the ALU.

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