United States: the union trying to impose itself at Amazon suffers another defeat

Employees of an Amazon warehouse voted overwhelmingly against Amazon Labor Union (ALU), the organization that has become the first union to establish itself within the e-commerce giant.

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in the United States voted against the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) on Tuesday, inflicting a new setback on this organization which had surprised at the start of the year by becoming the first union to impose within the e-commerce giant.

68% participation

According to a tally streamed online, 406 employees at the ALB1 warehouse south of New York’s state capital, Albany, voted “no” to whether they wanted to be represented by ALU, against 206 who voted “yes”.

A total of 949 employees had four days to cast a ballot and the turnout was 68%, said the agency responsible for supervising the poll, the NLRB.

Created in 2021 by a small group of employees and ex-employees fighting for better working conditions since the start of the pandemic, ALU had convinced the employees of the JFK8 site, located in the Staten Island district of New York at the end of March. and employing around 8,000 people, to vote for it.

Second employer in the United States after the retail giant Walmart, Amazon had until then succeeded in repelling the desires of employees wishing to unionize.

ALU had then aroused enthusiasm, many workers contacting the organization and its atypical leader Christian Smalls making the rounds of television sets.

ALU “proud” of its supporters

But ALU had failed a few weeks later to win the support of the employees of the LDJ5 sorting center, located opposite JFK8.

A more established union, the RWDSU, also tried its luck earlier this year at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. But the vote was the subject of several objections and the result has still not been formalized.

On Tuesday, ALU did not immediately respond to a request from AFP to comment on its defeat on this third site.

Shortly before the start of the count, Christian Smalls had assured that, regardless of the result, he was “ proud of warehouse workers who supported the vote.

Going after a trillion-plus company is never a loss for workers “, he claimed, before remarking: “ We miss 100% of the chances that we don’t try “.

Proceedings initiated

Even at the site where it scored a victory in the spring, ALU is still struggling to turn its victory into concrete progress, as the group founded by Jeff Bezos quickly challenged it.

The procedure still in progress prevents the holding of negotiations on a collective agreement for the moment.

Like ALU, other unions have made notable inroads at other major U.S. companies in recent months, one or more of Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, REI, Chipotle or Trader’s Joe, companies where unions usually don’t try not set foot, for lack of hope of winning.

But they face strong opposition from their employers, with the NLRB having already filed several complaints accusing them of union busting tactics.

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