Blow to Amazon union drive as New York workers reject latest bid

Warehouse workers near Albany vote against forming a union by nearly two to one margin

The movement to unionize Amazon workers suffered another setback on Tuesday after workers at an upstate New York warehouse overwhelmingly rejected a union bid.

Warehouse workers near Albany cast 406 votes – or about 66% – against the Amazon Labor Union, giving the company enough support to push back the fledgling group composed of former and current Amazon workers.

According to the National Labor Relations Board, 206 workers – or 33.6% – voted in favor of joining the union. The agency said 918 employees were eligible to vote, and the 31 ballots that were challenged by either Amazon or the union were not enough to sway the outcome.

The facility known as ALB1 is located in the town of Schodack, near one of the most unionized metro areas in the country, according to It’s what’s known as a non-sort center, a warehouse where employees pack more bulky items such as rugs, patio furniture or outdoor equipment.

Experts had noted a win there would have given the union more leverage in its quest to negotiate a contract with Amazon and a chance to demonstrate its prior win at a facility on Staten Island, New York, wasn’t a one-off. For now, those hopes seem to be dashed.

This was the fourth union election at an Amazon warehouse this year, and the third one led by the Amazon Labor Union. Following their unexpected win in April in Staten Island, the group was stung by a loss shortly thereafter at another, smaller facility nearby. A union election in Alabama, led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, remains too close to call.

Many believed organizing the second Staten Island facility would be more challenging due to the larger share of part-time workers, who might have other sources of income and less of a connection with their co-workers. The union had less time to convince workers.

Chris Smalls, president of Amazon Labor Union, said: “Today, everyone involved with ALU is filled with mixed emotions. We’re proud of the brave workers in Upstate New York who stood up in the face of a vicious anti-union campaign to challenge a trillion-dollar corporation. This won’t be the end of ALU at ALB1.

“We’re also feeling both anger and disappointment that the voting process wasn’t free and fair. It was a sham election where workers were subjected to intimidation and retaliation on a daily basis and even the workers who volunteered to be election observers were faced with threats of termination.”

Amazon has been trying to undo the ALU’s lone victory, filing more than two dozen objections to the election and seeking a redo vote. Last month, a federal labor official concluded the union should be certified as a bargaining representative for the warehouse. Amazon, which hasn’t recognized the union, said it intends to appeal the decision and CEO Andy Jassy has also signaled the company could take the case to federal court.

ALU organizers have said they were focused on pressuring Amazon to negotiate a contract at the facility that voted to unionize and petitioning for more elections. Last week, Amazon workers at a separate facility in California filed for their own union election, seeking to join the ALU.

Associated Press contributed to this article

Guardian staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Amazon labor organizers push for second union victory in New York
About 1,500 eligible workers at LDJ5 sorting center on Staten Island vote in union ballot, after recent success at JFK8 warehouse

Michael Sainato

25, Apr, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Amazon fired him – now he’s trying to unionize 5,000 workers in New York
Christian Smalls is taking on the fiercely anti-union colossus , convinced that a union of only Amazon workers is the smartest way to rally Amazon employees

Steven Greenhouse in New York

04, Jun, 2021 @7:00 AM

Article image
Blow to Amazon as Alabama warehouse workers given go-ahead for union vote
National Labor Relations Board denies Amazon bid to delay election and says vote can be conducted by mail

Lauren Aratani

05, Feb, 2021 @6:07 PM

Article image
‘I'm not a robot’: Amazon workers condemn unsafe, grueling conditions at warehouse
Employees under pressure to work faster call on retail giant to improve conditions – and take their complaints seriously

Michael Sainato

05, Feb, 2020 @8:00 AM

Article image
'We deserve more': an Amazon warehouse’s high-stakes union drive
Workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are pushing for a union – and experts say if they triumph, it could pave the way to organizing fulfillment centers in other states

Steven Greenhouse

23, Feb, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
Amazon seeks to block workers from voting by mail in landmark union drive
Some 5,000 workers in Bessemer, Alabama, to vote in landmark effort and mail ballots used in similar votes because of coronavirus

Michael Sainato

27, Jan, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
US judge orders Amazon to ‘cease and desist’ anti-union retaliation
Company must read out public notice to employees at Staten Island warehouse, which won vote to unionize in April

Michael Sainato

28, Nov, 2022 @6:10 PM

Article image
Biden gives tentative support to Amazon workers in union push
President does not mention retail giant by name but sends backing to ‘workers in Alabama’ currently voting on unionization

Lauren Aratani

01, Mar, 2021 @5:55 PM

Article image
Amazon crushed the Alabama union drive – can the Teamsters do better?
The Teamsters union is rich, strong, and experienced – and it’s ready to help workers and give Amazon a headache

Steven Greenhouse

24, Jun, 2021 @9:00 AM

Article image
Union drive at Manhattan roastery shows spirit of Starbucks workers
Since the first successful drive in Buffalo, 18 US locations have unionized – including at the chichi New York ‘reserve’

Michael Sainato

19, Apr, 2022 @9:00 AM