Union Loses Second Amazon Staten Island Vote

Image credit: Amazon

Labour campaigners fail in bid to organise second Amazon facility in New York’s Staten Island, after surprise win at JFK8 warehouse last month

Union campaigners have lost a vote to organise a second Amazon facility in the New York City borough of Staten Island.

Staff at the company’s sortation centre, known as LDJ5, voted 618 to 380 against joining the grassroots Amazon Labor Union (ALU), according to a count by the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Turnout was about 61 percent of the roughly 1,600 workers eligible to vote.

The vote comes on the heels of the ALU’s surprise win in April at a warehouse known as JFK8, located across the street from LDJ5.

Image credit: Amazon
Image credit: Amazon

Anti-union stance

Some 55 percent of those who voted at the JFK8 facility opted to join the ALU, which is campaigning for higher wages and greater job security.

In contrast to JFK8, many staff at LDJ5 are part-time and said their roles are less demanding than at the warehouse, requiring shorter shifts.

Amazon has to date kept unions out of its US facilities, and is contesting the JFK8 win with the NLRB.

It has spent millions on anti-union campaigns, including opposition to the LDJ5 vote. The second Staten Island vote was more important to the company than that at JFK8, as a second win would risk adding momentum to unionisation efforts.

The risk to Amazon’s anti-union stance was all the greater amidst a recent upsurge of interest in labour organising in the US that has seen filings for union elections increasing nearly 60 percent over the six months ending in March, compared to the same period a year earlier.

Labor interest

The ALU’s win last month followed a streak of union victories at Starbucks stores in the US.

Some industry watchers say staff who are in a more precarious financial position, such as the part-time workers at LDJ5, are more difficult to organise as they may be more wary of opposing their employer’s wishes.

Amazon has said it prefers to deal directly with staff and that it offers exceptional benefits and pay.

“We’re glad that our team at LDJ5 were able to have their voices heard. We look forward to continuing to work directly together as we strive to make every day better for our employees,” the company said in a statement.

“The organising will continue at this facility and beyond,” the ALU said on Twitter. “The fight has just begun.” The union didn’t specify if it would challenge the result of the election.

Staff from more than 100 Amazon facilities have discussed organising with the ALU in the past month, the union has said.