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 Unionstats.com. 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