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Amazon employees vote to unionize Staten Island warehouse

Amazon employees vote to unionize Staten Island warehouse

With a few dozen votes left to count, it looks like workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York City have enough votes to unionize. The final tally was 2,131 with 2,654 yes votes and 67 challenges. The JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island will join the Amazon labor union after the number of challenges was not enough to affect the outcome.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined in January that federalization efforts had "reached a substantial demonstration of interest" in facilitating holding elections. The facility employs about 5,000 people.

ALU has been trying to unite Amazon employees in New York City for nearly two years. In October 2021, it filed with the NLRB to hold a union election for two Amazon facilities on Staten Island, but later withdrew the request because it did not have enough signatures. The union focused only on the JFK8 warehouse in December, where many workers staged a walkout during the height of the protests and the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike the Bessemer federalization effort, the ALU is not affiliated with any national union or larger organization. It is the personal project of Christian Smalls, who was fired from the Staten Island site after a walkout.

JFK8 is the first election in the US to approve unions for Amazon warehouse workers. Following another union drive at Amazon's BHM 1 facility in Bessemer, Alabama, the NLRB last year ordered the election to be rescheduled, after it was determined that Amazon had interfered with the election earlier. On Thursday, votes in Bessemer were going against the union, with 933 against and 875 in favour, but since the final result is so close, 416 challenger ballots will be heard. The hearing is expected to be scheduled over the next few weeks, and both the union and Amazon will have the opportunity to file any objections to the election in the coming month.

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