Creating a union in an Amazon warehouse: the suspense continues

A bad start in Alabama, still possible in New York: Counting votes in unions at Amazon US warehouses began Thursday, but the final results are not yet known.

If yes wins at one of the two logistics sites, it will be the e-commerce giant’s first US site since the company was founded in 1994.

On Staten Island, a New York City neighborhood where warehouse workers voted for JFK8 in person, the “yes” vote resulted in 1,518 votes to 1,154. An official said the count “will end tomorrow.”

The mere fact that a vote was held is “really historic,” said Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Workers’ Union (ALU), a small group of current and former Amazon employees who have dedicated several months to collecting signatures of at least 30% of warehouse employees to be able to organize a vote.

He quickly walked out of the building between two rounds of vote counting, and said he was “not surprised” that Yes is progressing so far.

In Bessemer (Alabama), on the other hand, the National Distribution Federation that the employees wanted to join seemed poised for a second potential, contested defeat, after that of a year earlier, which occurred at the end of a media campaign followed up to the hour by the head of state.

And on Thursday evening, “No” submitted 993 ballot papers to 875 “Yes,” but 416 allegedly “disputed” ballot papers remained, which will decide the outcome. In the next few weeks, the hearing must decide whether or not these prospectuses should be opened and taken into account. Then there can be other legal remedies.

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In all, 2,284 people out of 6,153 eligible employees voted.

This second vote was taken by the US Labor Rights Agency (NLRB), which found that Amazon had broken the rules during the first attempt at Bessemer last year.

The RWDSU union has already accused the group of “intimidation and interference,” and the NLRB has ruled that many of the objections are admissible.

Amazon, one of the largest US multinational employers that earned more than $30 billion in 2021, has so far fended off attempts by workers to integrate in the country.

In Bessemer as on Staten Island, employees were called to several mandatory meetings in the run-up to the ballot to present them with union defects.

Officially, the company says it respects the rights of its workers to form unions but prefers to have a direct relationship with its employees.

It did not immediately respond to a request from AFP.

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