Amazon workers in New York reject the union in reverse

Amazon’s warehouse workers rejected the union’s offer Monday, striking organizers who last month made the first successful organized effort in the United States in the history of the retail giant.

The votes were still in order, but the ballots cast against the union were enough to repel a second victory for Amazon’s nascent labor union, a group of former and current Amazon workers leading the effort.

The ballots, which were challenged by either Amazon or the ALU, were not enough to affect the outcome.

THIS IS AN UPDATED NEWS. The previous history of the AP follows below.


The Federal Labor Council on Monday began counting ballots issued by warehouse workers in the second election to Amazon’s Staten Island union.

The National Labor Relations Council is monitoring the election and expects the countdown to be completed by Monday afternoon.

Separate elections last month came as a surprise victory to a nascent group of organizers known as the Amazon Labor Union, when workers at another Staten Island facility voted in favor of unionization. This was the first time for Amazon in the United States


But it is unclear whether ALU can repeat its success. This time there are fewer workers eligible to vote – about 1,500 compared to 8,300 – and the turnover in the facility is high. In addition, there are fewer organizers participating in the last elections than before.

The same obstacles that plagued the effort for the first time, including Amazon’s aggressive tactics against unions, are back in play. On the eve of the election, Amazon continued to hold mandatory meetings to persuade its workers to reject the union’s efforts, published anti-union leaflets, and launched a website urging workers to “vote NO.”

“ALU is currently trying to stand between us and you,” the website said in a statement. “They think they can do a better job of advocating for you than you do for yourself.


Amazon spokesman Kelly Nantel said in a statement that his employees choose whether they want to join a union or not. But “as a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees,” Nantel said. “Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue to make Amazon a great place to work.”

A second labor victory could give workers at other Amazon facilities – and other companies – the motivation they need to begin such efforts. It can also cement the power and influence of ALU.

However, the loss of a union could stifle some of the recent Labor Day and raise questions about whether the first victory was just a coincidence.

Regardless of the outcome, there is a difficult path ahead for ALU. Amazon challenged the first election, arguing in documents to the NLRB that the vote was tainted by organizers and the regional office on board in Brooklyn, which is monitoring the election. The company says it wants re-election, but pro-union experts say it is an attempt to delay contract negotiations and potentially blunt some of the organizational impetus.


Meanwhile, the final result of the separate union elections in Bessemer, Alabama, is still in the air with 416 unfulfilled disputed ballots hanging by a thread. Hearings to review these bulletins are expected to begin in the coming weeks.

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Amazon workers in New York reject the union in reverse

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