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Amazon workers vote against unionizing in Albany

Amazon workers vote against unionizing in Albany


406 workers voted against joining the Amazon Labor Union, the organization’s second defeat

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Illustration of Amazon’s wordmark on an orange, black, and tan background made up of overlapping lines.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Workers at Amazon’s ALB1 warehouse near Albany, New York, have voted against unionizing with the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). There were 406 no votes and 206 yes votes, with 918 hourly full-time and regular part-time associates at the fulfillment center being eligible to vote, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). There were 31 challenged ballots, which was not enough to affect the winner.

According to organizers, the union campaigned on improving pay and safety at ALB1. In the lead-up to the election, Amazon raised wages for all fulfillment and transportation employees, but union leaders at ALB1 responded by saying the $17 an hour the company offers isn’t enough. According to the ALU, Amazon has responded to the union drive by forcing workers to attend anti-union meetings and retaliating against organizers and whistleblowers. (The company denies the latter point.) NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado says the ALU has filed 27 unfair labor practices charges related to Amazon’s behavior at ALB1. A report from Engadget shows digital signage from Amazon that explicitly told employees to not sign union cards.

There haven’t been many clean union elections at Amazon

Prior to the vote count, Amazon spokesperson Mary Kate Paradis told The Verge that the company has “always said that we want our employees to have their voices heard, and we hope and expect this process allows for that.” Amazon has spent months fighting the results of the election at JFK8, claiming that the union won after threatening workers and interfering with people waiting to vote.

Union elections at Amazon warehouses are far from a sure thing. While the ALU made history by winning the vote at the JFK8 facility on Staten Island, workers at the neighboring LDJ5 resoundingly voted against joining the organization. There’s also the election in Bessemer, Alabama, where workers originally voted against joining a union in 2021. After the NLRB determined that Amazon had violated labor laws during the drive, it ordered a redo, which was held earlier this year. Currently, the results of that vote are contested, and it’s possible there will have to be a third election, according to the NLRB.

Outside of direct unionization efforts, Amazon has seen a growing wave of employee activism, as reports paint a picture of its warehouses and delivery routes as dangerous places to work and as the company struggles with immense turnover rates that cost it billions and risk drying up its labor pool. There have been walkouts and strikes at several of its facilities in Illinois, Georgia, and California, and workers at ALB1 protested earlier this summer over the death of a worker in New Jersey during Prime Day.