Amazon Workers Petition to Hold Union Elections in Upstate New York

Amazon Workers in Upstate New York File Petition to Conduct Union Election

Backed by a grassroots labor group that won the first union victory of an Amazon warehouse in the US, workers at another warehouse filed a petition Tuesday for elections in New York hoping for a similar result.

A spokesman for the National Labor Relations Board said the petition was filed for a warehouse called ALB1, located in the town of Shodack, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Albany.

To qualify for union elections, the NLRB requires the signature of 30 percent of eligible voters in a specific facility. Whether or not employees have reached that limit, it will be hashed out in the coming weeks.

Amazon spokesman Paul Flanningen said the company has about 1,000 warehouse workers at the Shodeck location. But in the filing, Amazon Labor Union, the nascent union that supports workers, said the bargaining unit would have about 400 workers.

Heather Goodall, a warehouse worker and a former insurance agent leading the organizing effort, said in an interview earlier this month that workers had enough support to file a union petition, but even more Were choosing to delay getting the signature. On Tuesday, she said the group’s lawyers were unwilling to release information about the number of signatures collected to the public.

The NLRB will now have to verify whether the activists who signed the petition are eligible to contest the elections. If the agency approves, it will settle the dates and times for an election between the company and the Amazon labor union, which won a union victory on Staten Island, New York, in April.

The union, made up of former and current warehouse employees, began supporting New York’s upwards organizing efforts after being contacted by Goodall, who joined Amazon in February to ease the company’s working conditions. Were. She quickly began talking to her co-workers about organizing and, along with a group of other activists, launched a union campaign in May.

Soon after, Goodall said she met Teamsters and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, or RWDSU, which also took on Amazon during a union election at a facility in Bessemer, Alabama, the results of which are still being contested.

Ultimately, she said the organizers decided to take a more grassroots approach and align with the ALU, based on the belief that the group understands the company better than other established unions.

“It looks like we work directly with them, and continue to build the Amazon labor union nationally,” Goodall said.

A Labor victory at Shodack would essentially broaden the ALU’s support within Amazon and turn it into a touch point for labor concerns beyond Staten Island. It may also revive the excitement that began to falter after the group’s May loss at a second warehouse on Staten Island and reports that it halted events at two other nearby facilities.

At the same time, the ALU is defending its lone victory against Amazon, which has filed more than two dozen objections to that election. During the week-long, contentious hearing of the NLRB that concluded in mid-July, lawyers for both sides attempted to discredit the claims of others. A decision on that matter is expected in the coming weeks.

Organizers say Amazon has already begun meetings with workers at Shodack to discourage them from unionizing. Amazon spokesman Flanningen said in a statement that employees can choose what they want to do.

“As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees,” Flanningen said. “Our focus is on working directly with our team to make Amazon a great place to work.”

Meanwhile, dozens of TikTok makers are pledging to stop doing business with Amazon unless it meets union demands, such as a minimum wage of $30 (about Rs 2,300) per hour and longer breaks. On Tuesday, the nonprofit Gen-Z for Change unveiled a campaign backed by about 70 content creators who say they will refuse to monetize their platforms for Amazon until working conditions improve. For “tangible changes” are not made.

“The widespread abuse by Amazon of its employees and coercive use of union bust tactics will no longer be tolerated by the TikTok community or the TikTok creators,” the group said in a letter shared on Twitter.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the campaign.

Other campaigns are underway at company warehouses in states such as Kentucky and North Carolina as workers try to gather enough signatures to petition for their own elections. Among other things, workers in upstate New York are demanding better training and higher pay at the company’s warehouse.

“We have employees who are unable to work because they can’t afford gas,” Goodall said. “They can’t afford car repairs, they can’t support their families.”

The petition comes amid widespread investigations into Amazon and its warehouse operations across the country. On Monday, dozens of employees at a company air hub in San Bernardino, California, quit to protest low pay and heat protection.

Federal officials have also become more involved. Last month, OSHA inspected Amazon facilities in a handful of states after receiving referrals for health and safety violations. The Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is also investigating security threats at Amazon’s warehouses and what a spokesperson for the office called “fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from OSHA and others.” .


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