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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Vote tally begins in second Amazon union election in NYC

A federal labor board will count the ballots cast by warehouse workers in the second Amazon union election on Staten Island on Monday.

The National Labor Relations Board is overseeing the election and is expected to conclude the tally of votes by Monday evening.

A separate election last month brought a surprise victory to a nascent group of organizers known as the Amazon Labor Union When workers at a separate Staten Island facility voted in favor of unionizing. This was a first for Amazon in the US

But it is not clear whether ALU can repeat its success. This time there are fewer workers eligible to vote – about 1,500 compared to 8,300 – and the facility has more business. The latest election involves fewer organizers than the first one.

The same obstacles that hindered the first attempt are at play again, including Amazon’s aggressive anti-union tactics. In the lead-up to the election, Amazon continued to hold mandatory meetings to persuade its employees to reject union efforts, posted anti-union flyers and launched a website urging workers to “not vote.” .

“Right now, ALU is trying to come to the midst of our relationship with you,” reads a post on the website. “They think they can do a better job advocating for you than you are doing for yourself.”

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement that its employees choose whether they want to join a union. 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 make Amazon a great place to work.”

A second Labor win could give workers at other Amazon facilities — and at other companies — the motivation they need to launch similar efforts. It can also strengthen the power and influence of the ALU.

However, the loss of a union may mute some of the recent labor festivals and raise questions about whether the first victory was just a fluke.

Whatever the outcome, it is bound to be a rough road ahead for the ALU. Amazon has previously disputed the election, arguing in a filing with the NLRB that the vote was tainted by organizers and by the board’s regional office in Brooklyn that oversees the election. The company says it wants re-election, but pro-union experts believe it is an attempt to delay contract negotiations and potentially blunt some of the organizing momentum.

Meanwhile, the final result of a separate union election in Bessemer, Alabama, is still up in the air and with 416 outstanding challenge ballots hanging in the balance. Hearings to review those ballots are expected to begin in the coming weeks.

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