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Voting begins at the 2nd Amazon Trade Union Election in NYC

A federal labor board will on Monday count ballot papers cast by warehouse workers at another union election in the Amazon on Staten Island.

The National Labor Relations Board is monitoring the election and expects to finish voting on Monday night.

A separate election held last month gave an incipient group of organizers known as the Amazon Labor Union a surprising victory when workers at another Staten Island facility voted for union. It was the first for Amazon in the United States

But it is unclear whether ALU can repeat its success. There are fewer eligible workers this time – around 1,500 compared to 8,300 – and the turnover at the plant is high. There are also fewer organizers involved in the recent election than before.

The same obstacles that plagued the effort the first time, including Amazon’s aggressive anti-union tactics, are at play again. In the run-up to the election, Amazon continued to hold mandatory meetings to persuade its workers to reject union efforts, posted anti-union leaflets and launched a website urging workers to ‘vote NO’.

‘Right now, ALU is trying to get between our relationship with you’, reads a post on the website. ‘They think they can do a better job of advocating for you than you do for yourself.’


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement that its employees are choosing whether or not to join a union. But “as a company, we do not believe unions are the best answer for our employees,” Nantel said. “Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue to make Amazon a great place to work.”

Another victory in the job market could give workers in other Amazon facilities – and in other companies – the motivation they need to make similar efforts. It could also cement the power and influence of ALU.

However, a union loss could dampen some of the recent labor party and raise questions about whether the first victory was just a stroke of luck.

Whatever the outcome, it is bound to be a tough road ahead for ALU. Amazon has contested the first election, claiming in an archive to the NLRB that the vote was tainted by the organizers and by the board’s regional office in Brooklyn, which oversaw the election. The company says it wants a re-election, but union experts believe it is an attempt to delay contract negotiations and potentially dull some of the organizational momentum.

Meanwhile, the final result of a separate union election in Bessemer, Alabama, is still up in the air with 416 outstanding ballot papers pending. Hearings to review these ballots are expected to begin in the coming weeks.

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