The battle to unite Amazon’s warehouses

Amazon, one of the largest employers in the United States and a mainstay of American shopping, has long resisted union efforts such as union actions in 2000 and 2014. In recent years, however, calls for unionization have become louder and more public — and a The fledgling union even managed to win an election at one of the company’s New York offices.

The recent run of elections began in Bessemer, Alabama, when the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union attempted to organize Amazon’s BHM1 facility, which had about 5,800 employees at the time. In 2021, workers voted decisively against unionization, but the union successfully petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to implement a new version, alleging Amazon intervened by installing a letterbox at its own facility. In the second election, turnout was lower, but much closer to the results, although the high number of contested ballots put the results on the line.

Elsewhere, the Amazon Labor Union, an organization made up of former and current Amazon workers not affiliated with any larger union, has made efforts to organize multiple warehouses in New York’s Staten Island. It eventually generated union votes at two facilities: JFK8 and LDJ5. On April 1, 2022, JFK8 workers voted to unite with the ALU, making their warehouse the first Amazon facility to unite. About a month later, workers at the adjacent LDJ5 facility voted against unions.

Throughout it all, Amazon has faced allegations of union breaking and other attempts to disrupt the electoral process (some of which were bizarre — it allegedly manipulated traffic patterns in Alabama). For its part, the company has accused unions and the National Labor Relations Board of doing the same. But with at least one warehouse affiliated with a union, it seems certain there will be other efforts to get organized, and you can follow the latest on those efforts in this StoryStream.

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