Amazon workers at second Staten Island warehouse reject union
Employees at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island overwhelmingly voted against unionizing on Monday.
The tally was 380 votes in favor of joining the union and 618 opposed. Officials said 1,633 workers at the LDJ5 warehouse were eligible to vote on whether they should become part of the Amazon Labor Union. There were two void ballots. The results still need to be formally certified by the National Labor Relations Board.
It’s a significant win for Amazon, which suffered a defeat last month after a neighboring Amazon warehouse, known as JFK8, voted in favor of the company’s first U.S. union.
The Amazon Labor Union called for all LDJ5 workers to receive at least $30 an hour. The average hourly starting pay at U.S. fulfillment centers is $18 an hour, according to Amazon. The union also sought longer breaks and improved benefits, along with other demands.
But Amazon has been steadfast and aggressive in trying to discourage employees from joining. Ahead of the vote, the e-commerce giant held mandatory meetings at LDJ5 where employees were required to sit through anti-union presentations and hired an influential Democratic pollster to assist with its campaign, CNBC previously reported.
Worker activism across the U.S. has surged since the Covid pandemic hit the country in early 2020. The strained labor market further galvanized support for unionization, and workers have seized the moment to demand higher pay and better benefits from their employers.
The ALU, led by former JFK8 manager Christian Smalls, began after Smalls was fired by the company, allegedly for violating social distancing rules. Smalls argued he was fired in retaliation for staging a protest in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic to call for stronger safety measures.
Before the pandemic, the last substantial union vote at a U.S. Amazon facility took place at a Delaware warehouse in 2014, when a group of repair technicians voted 21 to 6 against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.