New York Amazon Workers Vote to Form Union in Historic First

In a stunning win, Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, New York, have voted to form the company’s first union in the U.S., overcoming a years-long, multimillion-dollar union-busting campaign.

Workers at the JFK8 warehouse voted 55 percent in favor of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) with a vote of 2,654 to 2,131, according to Thursday and Friday’s ballot counts from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). A little over 8,300 workers are eligible for the union. This would likely make it the largest union in existence. one of the largestIn recent history, bargaining units were common.

The union’s vote is a significant victory. This is especially impressive coming from a fully independent union that was founded last year. It will send shockwaves throughout the country as the labor movement experiences an emergence, demonstrating workers can overcome enormous odds in labor organizing.

“My team has been amazing, the way we’ve been organizing camping out for the last 11 months in front of the building, occupying the breakroom. I didn’t expect nothing less,” Christian Smalls, ALU president, told MotherboardOther than the Brooklyn vote count. “I know what these organizers have been doing, what they sacrificed, what I sacrificed to get to this point, and I’m just happy to see it come into this realization. Happy to be a part of this.”

Amazon, which was accused of illegal union busting, waged a fierce antiunion campaign at JFK8 harassing workersWith racist remarks, firing organizers and employing a wide variety of other union busting tactics such as mandatory anti-union meetings and surveillance of pro-union workers.

February New York police arrestedTwo other ALU organizers were also present at the event. They brought food to workers for the union. This was clearly an attempt by the company to intimidate workers against it. The workers were trespassing, the company claimed. Amazon also fired Smalls in 2020 for organizing a walkout over the company’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

The votes of workers at the Amazon BHM1 warehouse located in Bessemer (Alabama) were also counted this week. The union drive, which was led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, saw a majority of ballots counted. was behind875 votes were in favor, 993 votes were against. However, there are still over 400 ballots that have been challenged by either the company or the union that won’t be counted until the NLRB decides whether or not they’re valid.

Bessemer workers also have faced aggressive anti-union moves by the company. This is their. Second chance to form a unionThe NLRB ruled that Amazon illegally interfered during the first election. Although the union is still behind in this attempt to rig the elections, it is getting closer this time. Last time, the labor board took particular issue with a mailbox that Amazon installed on company grounds to collect ballots that workers said was constantly surveilled by the company to intimidate workers who may be voting “yes.”

Between union busting in Bessemer and Staten Island — including anti-union moves at Another Staten Island warehouse that has yet to vote on unionizing — Amazon spent a total of $4.3 millionAccording to financial filings, there were a total of 58 anti-union lawyers in the last year.

JFK8 workers will now have another challenge: negotiating with Amazon for their first contract. The company will likely continue to use anti-union tactics in order to stonewall union workers as it has done with other anti-union employers. have done before them.