Labor & Workforce

Workers at Amazon warehouse in NYC vote to unionize

New York, Apr 1 (EFE).- Employees at an Amazon warehouse in the Big Apple voted to create the first union at any of the e-commerce titan’s facilities in the United States according to results released Friday.

“We worked had fun and made History,” Amazon Labor Union (ALU) leader Christian Smalls said on Twitter.

“ALU for the Win welcome the 1st union in America for Amazon,” he wrote.

Nearly 5,000 of the roughly 8,325 employees at the JFK8 warehouse in the borough of Staten Island – Amazon’s largest facility in New York City – cast ballots.

The vote in favor of the union was 2,654 to 2,131, though the results must still be certified by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Smalls launched the unionization effort after Amazon fired him from his job as a manager at JFK8 in 2020, ostensibly for failing to follow Covid-19 social distancing guidelines.

But Smalls, a 33-year-old African American, said the company dismissed him in reprisal after he organized a walkout by employees demanding that Amazon do more to protect them during the pandemic.

Amazon, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, is the world’s second-richest person, mounted a vigorous campaign against the union, posting “Vote No” signs at JFK8, setting up an anti-union website, and requiring employees to attend weekly meetings filled with anti-union content.

The website highlighted Smalls’ lack of “experience” in running a union or negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, while a leaked memo showed that Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky described Smalls as “not smart or articulate” in a meeting with company executives.

Amazon “wanted to make me the face of the whole unionizing efforts against them?. welp there you go! @JeffBezos @DavidZapolsky,” Smalls tweeted Friday.

Meanwhile, the results of a second unionization vote at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, remained unclear Friday as the NLRB reviewed challenges to more than 400 ballots.

The tally of the uncontested ballots was 993 against unionization and 875 in favor of affiliating with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. EFE


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