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Amazon Workers in New York Vote to Unite With a historic Worker’s Victory | Associated Press

New York (AP) — Amazon workers in Staten Island, NY voted for the union on Friday, marking the first successful US organizing effort in the history of retail giants and fueling the union’s impetus. Brought an unexpected victory to the group.

Warehouse workers voted 2,654 votes (about 55%) in favor of the union, giving enough support to bring victory to the fledgling Amazon union. According to the National Labor Relations Commission, which oversees the process, 2,131 workers (45%) refused to bid for the union.

The 67 votes challenged by either Amazon or the ALU were not enough to influence the outcome. Federal labor officials said the count results would not be validated until April 8 has dealt with any disputes that the parties may file.

Victory was a difficult battle for an independent group, lacking formal support from established unions, and consisted of former and current workers defeated by the rich retail giants. Despite the obstacles, the organizers believed that the grassroots approach was more familiar to workers and helped established unions overcome places of failure in the past. They were right.

Chris Smalls, Dismissed Amazon employee Having led the ALU in the Battle of Staten Island, he bounced with other union organizers from the NLRB building in Brooklyn on Friday, raised his fist, jumped and chanted “ALU”. They opened a bottle of champagne and Smalls welcomed the victory as a call to weapons for other Amazon workers across the vast company.

“Many people were skeptical of us, so I hope everyone is paying attention now,” he said.

Smalles hopes that its success in New York will allow workers at other facilities to launch their own organizing campaigns. Even his group will soon turn to the adjacent Amazon warehouse on Staten Island. Another union election will be held there in late April. Organizers believe that Friday’s victory will make it easier for them to win there as well.

Amazon posted a statement on its website on Friday that it is evaluating options after the election.

“I’m disappointed with the outcome of the elections on Staten Island because I believe it’s best for employees to have a direct relationship with the company,” the post said. “We have filed an objection based on the inappropriate and undue impact of NLRB that we and others (including the National Retail Federation and the United States Chamber of Commerce) have witnessed in this election. We appreciate our choices. “

The company didn’t give details, but suggested that it could challenge the elections based on a lawsuit forced by NLRB against Amazon in March. Reinstate a dismissed employee Those who were involved in the union movement.

Mark Cohen, director of retail research at Columbia University, said he had no idea how workers would benefit from Amazon’s unionized facilities, and overall to union companies. He said the promotion was going in the wrong direction. Amazon is a “highly trained and managed” business that is willing to pay premium wages and good benefits, but also demands tremendous output from workers working on 10-hour shifts, he said. ..

“Amazon has no intention of changing its culture because of the union now,” Cohen said.

Successful union efforts on Staten Island Bessemer, Alabama By a more established retail, wholesale and department store federation.The workers in the Amazon warehouse there Rejected union bid However, unresolved ballots can change results. The vote was 993 vs. 875 against the union. Hearings to consider the 416 opposition ballot will begin in the coming days.

Union campaigns occur when labor disputes are widespread in many companies. For example, workers in more than 140 Starbucks locations across the country are demanding union elections, some of which have already been successful.

However, Amazon has long been considered the highest award in the labor movement given the company’s huge size and influence. The results at Staten Island echoed all the way to the White House.

“The president was pleased to see workers make sure they could hear their voices regarding important workplace decisions,” White House spokesman Jen Psaki said in a briefing on Friday’s vote. .. “He firmly believes that all workers in all states must have the free and fair choice to join a union and the right to collective bargaining with their employers.”

John Logan, director of labor and employment research at San Francisco State University, said the union’s victory was a two-year potential turning point for a pandemic that changed the working environment.

“I knew the union was in a moment, but it’s a lot bigger,” Logan said. “There’s no bigger prize than organizing Amazon.”

He added that the ALU victory goes against the traditional notion that only national unions can undertake large corporations. But according to Erin Hatton, a professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, New York, the group may still be fighting before that.

“Taking Amazon to the negotiating table would be another feat together,” Hatton said.

Rebecca Giban, a professor of labor research at Rutgers University, said victory was only the first step in a potentially protracted battle with Amazon.

“It’s clear that Amazon will continue to fight, they don’t admit that workers have the right to organize,” she said. “The legal questions they raised this afternoon seem to suggest that they are trying to undermine the full authority of NLRB.”

Amazon has retreated hard for both Staten Island and Bessemer elections. The retail giant held a compulsory meeting and workers were told that the union was a bad idea. The company also launched an anti-union website for workers and put up posters in English and Spanish throughout the Staten Island facility.At Bessemer, Amazon has made some changes, but it’s still Controversial United States Postal Service Mailbox This was the key to NLRB’s decision to invalidate last year’s vote.

Both labor disputes faced unique challenges. For example, Alabama is a labor-rights state that prohibits companies and unions from signing contracts that require workers to pay membership fees to their representative unions.

The landscape of the Alabama union is also very different from New York. Last year, union members accounted for 22.2% of wage and salary workers in New York, second only to Hawaii, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is more than double the national average of 10.3%. In Alabama, it is 5.9%.

Amazon workers in Staten Island are looking for longer breaks, paid leave for injured employees, and an hourly wage of $ 30 from a minimum of $ 18 per hour offered by the company. According to a similar US Census Bureau analysis of Staten Island’s median household income of $ 85,381, the estimated average wage in the autonomous region is $ 41 per hour.

Ross Harrison, who voted in favor of organizing on Staten Island, expected the union to be able to improve things at work, but wasn’t sure if the impact would be significant.

“Life is much bigger than a union,” Harrison reported on Friday’s shift. “Amazon is a great job and the union is a great opportunity for those who are looking forward to it.”

But others weren’t so festive.

Ringworm voted against the union, but said it would withhold further decisions for now. “We can’t get the vote back,” she said. “I give things a chance, but let’s see if they realize what they promised.”


May Anderson, a staff writer for the Associated Press in New York, contributed to this report.

Amazon Workers in New York Vote to Unite With a historic Worker’s Victory | Associated Press

Source link Amazon Workers in New York Vote to Unite With a historic Worker’s Victory | Associated Press

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