Efforts to unionize a second Amazon warehouse on Staten Island, New York, failed after votes were counted today (May 2) following a two-week election.
The loss at the LDJ5 facility is a setback for unionization efforts that were boosted by an unexpected victory at the larger JFK8 warehouse in the borough last month.
At the final tally, 618 employees voted against the union while 380 voted in favor. In total, 998 ballots were cast out of 1,633 eligible workers, bringing the total turnout to roughly 61%, according to data filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
“The organizing will continue at this facility and beyond. The fight has just begun,” the Amazon Labor Union said in a tweet as the vote-counting concluded. Per the NLRB, the union and Amazon have until May 9, to file objections about the election.
An uphill battle at LDJ5
Ahead of the voting period, Amazon brought in anti-union managers and consultants from across the country to work at the facility. Workers at LDJ5 described to the Observer how Amazon shut down production every day, multiple times a day, to funnel workers into captive audience meetings in the last week ahead of the union drive. During the voting period at LDJ5, the company handed out free cookies and donuts and other snacks to workers during the voting period at LDJ5, supposedly to sweeten the deal.
The workforce at LDJ5 is significantly smaller than that at JFK8—1,633 compared to roughly 8,000—resulting in a more concentrated anti-union presence in the facility. All of the anti-union resources used at JFK8 shifted to LDJ5, Julian Israel-Mitchell said in a meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of the election. “We’re getting hit with just as many union busters but it’s like a one to 15 person ratio.”
Amazon is currently seeking to overturn the successful union vote at JFK8. In early April, Amazon filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging that the Amazon Labor Union handed out weed to win yes votes and accused the NLRB itself of “mismanagement in the polling area”—the warehouse owned and managed by Amazon—by allowing camera crews on the property.
The Amazon Labor Union ran a campaign at LDJ5 focused on longer breaks, job security, and immediate changes to company policies “regarding health and safety, pay, promotions, overtime, working conditions, transportation, time, and union-busting.”
Union fever is spreading
Workers across the country are witnessing a resurgence of the labor movement and union drives: To date, nearly 250 Starbucks locations have filed petitions for a union drive and 40 Starbucks locations have voted to unionize so far. Workers at Target, Apple, REI are organizing for improvements and to unionize.
Organizing efforts spread to gig workers, too: Los Deliveristas Unidos, a collective of delivery workers in New York City, successfully organized gains related to bathroom access and wage transparency.