The second effort to unionize an Amazon facility in Staten Island, NY failed on Monday when workers voted not organize with the upstart Amazon Labor Union.
Workers at the Staten Island sorting facility known as LDJ5 defeated the effort by a 618 to 380 margin, delivering the online retail megacorp a victory just one month after Amazon laborers at the Staten Island fulfillment center, JFK8, won the first union election in company history.
ALU president Christian Smalls and ALU organizers gathered workers and supporters for a rally ahead of the election last Sunday. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke at the rally, offering support and encouragement to LDJ5 workers.
The defeat is a setback for the ALU as both Staten island facilities represent key points of interest. JFK8 and LDJ5 both serve the wider New York city area, one of the largest retail markets in which Amazon operates. Smalls expressed pride for organzers at LDJ5 despite the loss, saying “they had a tougher challenge” after the JFK8 victory. “Nothing changes. We organize! Do not be discouraged or sad, be upset and talk to your coworkers,” he added. The Teamsters and AFL-CIO also expressed solidarity with the ALU and Amazon workers after news of the loss broke.
The victory is beneficial for Amazon as pro-labor movements continue to gain steam in multiple labor fields. A union win at LDJ5 could have sparked quicker adoption of organization at more of the company’s 800-plus facilities. Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said the company was glad LDJ5 workers “were able to have their voices heard” in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work directly together as we strive to make every day better for our employees,” she added.
Though LDJ5 rejected the union, the push for better worker representation at the tech giant has resulted in some positive changes for Amazon staff. Last week, the company announced it would allow warehouse workers to keep their cell phones on them while working and the New York state government introduced a bill requiring business to disclose and limit productivity quotas. Amazon has been criticized heavily for enforcing grueling productivity quotas for warehouse employees.
At the same time, Amazon announced that it would end its Covid-19 sick leave policy and would no longer notify workers of positive cases within Amazon facilities unless required by law to do so.