Amazon’s union vote begins in Staten Island’s second warehouse

Protesters during an Amazon Labor Union (ALU) demonstration in the Staten Island borough of New York, United States on Sunday, April 24, 2022.

Victor J Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon Workers will vote on Monday as part of another high-risk union campaign in a warehouse on Staten Island in New York.

About 1,500 workers from the LDJ5 warehouse can vote in the elections, which are held in a large white tent outside the facility. Voting started early Monday morning and continued until Friday. The National Labor Relations Board will begin counting ballots on May 2.

The election is taking place right in front of another Amazon warehouse, known as JFK8, which in a surprise move, voted in the company’s first US union less than a month ago. Unlike JFK8, a huge 85,000-square-foot warehouse with approximately 6,000 employees, LDJ5 is a much smaller facility where employees sort packages for delivery.

The Amazon Labor Union, made up of current and former employees of the company, is looking to unionize a second Amazon warehouse after its historic victory at JFK8. ALU is calling Amazon will raise the hourly wages for all workers down to as little as $ 30 per hour. The average starting hourly wage in U.S. fulfillment centers is $ 18 per hour, according to Amazon. The union is also seeking longer breaks and better benefits, among other demands.

The more unions like ALU have targeted Amazon, the more aggressive Amazon has become in discouraging employees from joining. The company held mandatory meetings at LDJ5 where employees are required to attend anti-union presentations, and also hired an influential Democratic pollster to help with his campaign.

Andrew Ross Sorkin, CEO of Amazon, Andy Jassy CNBC, said last week that the company thinks employees are “better off” if they don’t join a union.

“In a place like Amazon that empowers employees, if they see something they can do better for customers or for themselves, they can meet in a room, decide how to change it and change it,” Jassy said. “That kind of emancipation doesn’t happen when you have unions. It’s a lot more bureaucratic, it’s a lot slower.”

Amazon is trying to overturn the results of the JFK8 election, claiming in a filing with the NLRB that the federal employment agency and union acted in a way that tainted the results. A lawyer representing the ALU called Amazon’s allegations “patently absurd.”

After the successful JFK8 election, Christian Smalls, president of ALU and former Amazon worker, he said he heard by a number of workers in other Amazon warehouses in the United States

Amazon’s unionization efforts have received high-profile support in recent weeks. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden gave his support for Amazon’s worker unionization, saying: “Amazon, here we come”.

On Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., joined the ALU in a rally outside the LDJ5 ahead of the election. Sanders shot Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the second richest man in the world, in comments on the rally.

“I tell Jeff Bezos, who owns a $ 500 million yacht, Jeff, when you’re out on your yacht, I want you to think about the Staten Island workers and your employees all over this country,” Sanders told the audience. “They don’t want a $ 500 million yacht. They don’t want a $ 23 million mansion you have in Washington, DC. They want affordable housing. They want to be able to save some money to send their kids to college. They don’t want to go to college. be exploited and continue this huge turnover that happens here due to the horrible working conditions. “

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