Amazon Warehouse Workers in Staten Island Vote to Unionize
Employees at an Amazon.com warehouse on New York’s Staten Island voted last Friday to join a union, a groundbreaking move for organized labor and a stinging defeat for the e-commerce giant, which has aggressively fought unionization efforts at the company. The tally was 2,654 votes in favor of joining the union and 2,131 opposed. Approximately 8,325 workers were eligible to vote whether to become part of the Amazon Labor Union. The results still need to be formally certified by the National Labor Relations Board. The Staten Island facility, known as JFK8, is Amazon’s largest in New York and now has the distinction of being the first in the U.S. to unionize despite workers having to stare down a hefty anti-union campaign.
Total Retail's Take: The vote was closely monitored by the e-commerce giant as well as labor boards across the country. For Amazon, it's disappointed with the final outcome, although it may not yet be giving up the fight. According to a company spokesperson, Amazon is considering "filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence by the NLRB that we and others (including the National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce) witnessed in this election."
As for the nationwide labor unions, they're celebrating what they view as a validation of the important services and benefits they provide. Specifically, the Amazon Labor Union is seeking to put in place “more reasonable” productivity rates in the warehouse. It’s also urging the company to raise wages and give workers more paid breaks and vacation, among other demands. Amazon is the latest retailer to see its employees express a desire to unionize, joining Starbucks. With worker demands and expectations shifting post-pandemic, it will be interesting to see if there's a rise in organized labor unions across the retail industry, most notably at the store and warehouse level.