Workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York have voted to unionize, a historic first for workers at the e-commerce company. The final tally was 2,654 upvotes and 2,131, with 67 challenges. Workers at the JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island will join the Amazon Labor union because the number of challenges is not enough to affect the outcome.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined in January that organizing efforts at the facility had “achieved a sufficient expression of interest” to hold an election. The establishment employs approximately 5,000 people.
In a statement posted on its website Friday, Amazon said it was “disappointed with the election results as we believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees.” The company is weighing its options, the post says, “including filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence of the NLRB” that it claims to have witnessed. The message did not specify which “influence” it was referring to.
The ALU has been trying to organize Amazon workers in New York for nearly two years. In October 2021, he filed with the NLRB to hold a union election for two Amazon facilities on Staten Island, but later withdrew the application because he did not have enough signatures. The union filed a new demand in December, focusing only on the JFK8 warehouse, which was the scene of several worker protests and walkouts during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike Bessemer’s organizing effort, the ALU is not affiliated with a national union or larger organization. It’s the personal project of Christian Smalls, who was fired from the Staten Island site after organizing a walkout. After the announcement of Friday’s count Smalls told reporters he wanted to thank former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos “because while he was in space, we were signing people up.”
The JFK8 election is the first to endorse a union for Amazon warehouse workers in the United States. Following another labor campaign at Amazon’s BHM1 factory in Bessemer, Alabama, the NLRB ordered a rerun of an election held last year after determining Amazon interfered with the first election. . On Thursday, the votes in Bessemer appeared to be against the union, with 933 against and 875 for, but since the final result is so close, there will be a hearing on 416 disputed ballots. The hearing is expected to take place in the coming weeks, and the union and Amazon will have the opportunity to file objections to the election in the coming month.
Update April 1 at 2:19 p.m. ET: Adds a statement from Amazon and a remark from Smalls.