Labor Movement / Trade Unions

ALB1 Amazon Workers to Vote on Unionizing

By Argiris Malapanis

ALBANY, New York — Amazon workers at ALB1, the company’s warehouse in Schodack, New York, will vote mid-October in a union representation election.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced September 14 the election will take place 8 am – noon and 8 pm – midnight on October 12, 13, 15, and 17. Workers will vote in a tent at ALB1’s parking lot in front of the warehouse.

“Over the past few months, Amazon workers at ALB1 have been collecting signatures in order to petition the government to hold a union election at our site,” said a press release by the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which is seeking to represent ALB1 workers. “We did this because Amazon is a company with deeply-rooted issues, and management always prioritizes profits over people. Since workers are the ones who make Amazon profitable in the first place, we should have a seat at the table and be able to negotiate better pay, benefits, and working conditions.

“Hundreds of workers signed up, our election was approved, and now it’s time to vote YES!”

Amazon Labor Union members sign co-workers on union authorization cards in front of ALB1, the company’s warehouse in Schodack, New York, on July 17, 2022. (Photo: Argiris Malapanis / World-Outlook)

On April 1, the ALU — a grassroots group led by rank-and-file workers with no affiliation to any established national trade union — won a landmark union representation election at JFK8, the company’s giant fulfillment center employing about 8,000 workers in Staten Island, New York. (See “Amazon Labor Union Scores Major Victory in New York.”)

The vote at ALB1 will be the third union representation election at an Amazon facility initiated by the ALU this year. The second took place at LDJ5, Amazon’s sorting facility in Staten Island across from JFK8, where the ALU lost the union vote on May 2. (See “We Lost this Battle, But We’ll Win the War.’”) In March 2022 a vote was held at another Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama, initiated by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. More than six months later no final result has been announced.

Last spring Amazon filed 25 objections with the NLRB, seeking to overturn the JFK8 election results. At a minimum the retail giant seeks to delay the NLRB’s final certification of the ALU as the bargaining agent for JFK8 workers, thus weakening ALU’s efforts to win a decent contract there. (See “Amazon Seeks to Prevent Certification of Union at NY Warehouse” and “Union Power Can Break Employers’ Obstruction.”)

Earlier this month, Amazon suffered a setback in its attempt to reverse the union’s victory in Staten Island. An NLRB official recommended that the corporate giant’s objections be rejected in full, and that the union be certified. However, the labor board has yet to act on that recommendation.

Heather Goodall, ALU’s union manager at ALB1, said in an interview: “Here is our response to the election date announcement: We are going to win. When we do the ALB1 workers are demanding that Amazon pay us the amount of money wasted on union busters in the form of restitution for lying by omission about the ALU, violating our rights, pulling us into meetings, harassing us while working with unsolicited one-sided anti-union propaganda, streaming false information throughout the warehouse, flooding our break rooms with photos of ALU shirts with phrases like ‘There are strings attached to this shirt,’ and using literal psychological warfare to compromise the integrity of a true, free, and fair election.

“If Amazon has millions to spend on ‘Employee Relations Consultants,’ AKA ‘Union Busters,’” Goodall continued, “it can afford to pay us back the millions of dollars wasted to insult our intelligence. We are smarter. We are stronger. We are more powerful. We will win!”

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