The win for the online retailer came after another Staten Island fulfillment center was the first to unionize and founded the Amazon Labor Union.
The employees at the LDJ5 warehouse voted 618 in opposition of becoming part of the union while 380 voted for it. There were 1,633 workers at the warehouse who were eligible to place a vote, according to officials. The National Labor Relations Board will certify the votes.
Only a month ago, another nearby Amazon warehouse that is known as JFK8 to employees, chose to participate in the company’s first U.S. union, the Amazon Labor Union (ALU).
Seth Goldstein, an attorney who has represented the union on a pro bono basis, said the ALU will challenge the result of the election, according to CNBC.
“We’re glad that our team at LDJ5 were able to have their voices heard,” said Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson. “We look forward to continuing to work directly together as we strive to make every day better for our employees.”
Employees have sought higher wages and improved working conditions as the online retailer expands and builds more mammoth warehouses to fulfill online orders. They are seeking paid sick leave, paid time off work for injuries and longer breaks.
The workers at the JFK8 Staten Island warehouse voted in April to create a union, a blow to the company that spent $4.3 million in 2021 to pay labor consulting firms to fight the efforts to create a union, according to U.S. Department of Labor filings.
Efforts to Unionize Will Continue
The Amazon Labor Union sought to increase wages to a minimum of $30 an hour for the LDJ5 employees. Amazon has said the average hourly wage is $18 an hour at its U.S. fulfillment centers. The union also wanted longer breaks and other improved benefits.
Amazon forced employees to attend anti-union meetings at the LDJ5 facility by making them mandatory, according to activists. The company also paid a Democratic pollster, Global Strategy Group, which has been influential, they said.
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Christian Smalls, who became the face of the Amazon Labor Union and serves as president, responded to today’s loss on Twitter. He said employees who led the unionization efforts should be pleased with their work.
“Despite todays outcome I’m proud of the worker/organizers of LDJ5 they had a tougher challenge after our victory at JFK8.Our leads should be extremely proud to have given their coworkers a right to join a Union. Nothing changes we organize! do not be discouraged or sad be upset and talk to your coworkers will continue to organize and so should all of you.”
He said there were still 8,300 employees “to get a contract for plenty of work to be done.”
Smalls, a former manager, said he was fired because Amazon sought retaliation after he protested during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and said there should be better safety measures. Amazon said he violated social distancing rules when he staged the protest.
The LDJ5 warehouse mainly has part-time workers gathering packages to be delivered compared to the JFK8 facility that has around 6,000 employees and is the largest Amazon fulfillment center in New York.
Workers across various industries throughout the U.S. have begun unionizing and working together to obtain improved working conditions and higher wages as inflation has increased and eroded the take-home pay of employees who faced higher rental payments, food, energy bills and gasoline costs.
The tight labor market energized efforts to unionize and workers have quit and changed jobs during the past two years.
Amazon Stock Reacting to Nearly $4 Billion Loss
The online retailer’s first quarter earnings last week was a disappointment, sending shares down. Amazon reported a $3.8 billion first quarter loss, a surprise to analysts and Wall Street.
Amazon shares had been back in the red Monday after its largest one-day decline since 2006. The company reported its first quarter revenue increased by 7% to $116.4 billion from last year, beating analysts’ estimates of a $116.30 billion. The online retailer reported the slowest year-on-year growth in over a decade as its total operating expenses shot up by 13.2% at $112.78 million.