1st Ever Employee Union Created At Amazon In This City: Employee Reform Will Accelerate?
Workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York City successfully voted to form the first union at the company.
Majority Vote Secured
They scored a major victory, adding to recent grassroots successes by labor activists pushing into new industries.
Employees at Amazon’s fulfillment center secured a majority by voting 2,654 to 2,131 in support of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), or about 55% in favor.
This is a major milestone for labor advocates who for years have condemned Amazon’s labor practices, calling it a threat to workers.
Amazon May Take Action
Amazon said that it is disappointed with the outcome because it believes that “having a direct relationship with the company is best for [its] employees”.
It is exploring options such as filing objections based on what it called inappropriate and undue influence by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
A spokesperson for the NLRB said that it is an independent federal agency and that its actions have been consistent with its congressional mandate.
Bargaining With Amazon
Assuming the vote clears any objections and the union is formally recognised, union negotiators would still have to bargain with Amazon for better compensation and working conditions.
The labor group could help workers advocate for better pay, break and vacation time.
Labor expert and professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University Dan Cornfield called the win a “momentous victory for working people who are doing homegrown union organizing.”
Surging Wave Of Activism
He expects this win to increase the momentum of the rapidly growing labor activism across the U.S. retail sector.
Other recent labor drives are picking up pace with Starbucks workers in 9 stores having voted to organize, with more than 150 more seeking elections.
Cornfield drew parallels with David and Goliath and said that the victory will encourage the wave of activism already occurring.
U.S. President Joe Biden said that he was glad that Amazon workers’ voices were heard.
He believes that every worker in every state should have a free and fair choice to join a union so that they can bargain for better jobs and a better life.