Labor organizers have a tough road ahead of them, as clearly shown by efforts for the second Staten Island Amazon warehouse’s union vote. Results coming in late Monday show Amazon has clinched a clear victory in the fight over labor organizing.
The unionization vote was at the LDJ5 sortation center in Staten Island. With over 1,600 employees eligible to vote, preliminary totals as of around 3 p.m. Monday were 618 against unionizing to 380 for. Numbers were confirmed by Gothamist according to stats from the National Labor Relations Board. A Bloomberg reporter on the scene at the National Labor Relations Board in New York also confirmed the same numbers in a running tally.
The Amazon Labor Union won a huge victory in April when a separate Staten Island warehouse became the first Amazon center to unionize in a vote 2,654 yes to 2,131 no. Amazon is already working to appeal that union victory, saying that employees were threatened during the voting process.
“We’re glad that our team at LDJ5 were able to have their voices heard,” Amazon Spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work directly together as we strive to make every day better for our employees.”
Today’s loss is a blow to organizing efforts and a display of just how adamant the online retail giant is about unions staying out of its workplaces.
A report filed by the U.S. Department of Labor said that Amazon reportedly spent $20,000 a week on consultants to pursue anti-union campaigns for the previous Staten Island warehouse vote. Labor filings also show that overall, Amazon spent $4.3 million on anti-union consultants in 2021.
Other failed labor organization votes have been considered null due to Amazon’s alleged union busting activities at some of its warehouses. Labor organizers have alleged numerous acts of illegal anti-union activities. Activists, alongside some officials like New York Sen. Gustavo Rivera, have called on state Attorney General Tish James to suspend Amazon’s tax credits until officials conduct an investigation of Amazon’s alleged anti-union activity.
Amazon did not respond to questions regarding allegations of anti-union activity before the May 2 vote.
Amazon’s labor practices have repeatedly come under fire by activists and officials. Last month, Amazon changed its policy for workers, allowing workers to keep their phones on them during operational hours. The policy was only changed after a tornado caused a devastating warehouse collapse last December that led to the death of six workers. People in the Illinois plant were unable to contact families during the incident.
Still, despite the loss, the unionization bug has caught on among low level workers at major companies including Starbucks and Apple, so the battle over unionization is not likely to be over any time soon.