A group of Staten Island workers has voted to join the Amazon Labor Union.
Over 8,300 votes were cast in total. While the count is not officially complete, 2,654 of the 4,785 tabulated votes were in favor of unionizing.
The process was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, which received a list of eligible workers from Amazon. At least 67 ballots are being challenged.
The NLRB is currently overseeing a vote count for an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, which was previously challenged. If successful, the warehouse would become the company’s second to unionize and would join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
JFK8, the Staten island Amazon center, is the company’s largest operation in the state.
Amazon campaigned intensely against the unionization effort. Banners reading “Vote No” were hung inside the JFK8 facility and workers were required to go to a weekly meeting about the effort. On a website set up in opposition to the effort, Amazon told its workers “the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) is trying to come between our relationship with you” and said that workers would lose their ability to individually advocate for themselves.
“In a union environment, your terms of employment typically are governed by a collective bargaining agreement,” the company wrote. “This CBA will govern pay, benefits, work rules, and even your interaction with your supervisor or manager. If a union is elected, Amazon can no longer work directly with you to make positive changes in the workplace.”
“We want to continue the same direct relationship we have with you today because it helps us be more responsive and move faster in providing you with a better working environment, competitive pay, and one of the strongest benefits packages of any employer in America,” Amazon said.
Amazon said that it was not anti-union but that the ALU would hurt direct engagement efforts.
The union’s president, Christian Smalls, declared victory on Twitter just after 11 A.M. on April 1.
@amazon wanted to make me the face of the whole unionizing efforts against them…. welp there you go! @JeffBezos @DavidZapolsky CONGRATULATIONS 🎉 @amazonlabor We worked had fun and made History ‼️✊🏾 #ALU # ALUfortheWin welcome the 1st union in America for Amazon 🔥🔥🔥🔥
— Christian Smalls (@Shut_downAmazon) April 1, 2022
“The victory was an uphill battle for the independent group, made up of former and current workers who lacked official backing from an established union and were out-gunned by the deep-pocketed retail giant,” reports The Washington Times. “Despite obstacles, organizers believed their grassroots approach was more relatable to workers and could help them overcome where established unions have failed in the past.”
The Amazon Labor Union is an independently formed group of current and former employees of the nation’s second-largest employer.