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Amazon workers in New York warehouse vote to form a union

The vote for unionizing was 2,654 compared to 2,131 voting against, or about 55 in favor, according to a Reuters tally

Workers stand in line to cast ballots for a union election at Amazon's JFK8 distribution center, in the Staten Island borough of New York City, U.S (REUTERS, file)

Workers at an Amazon.com facility in New York City’s Staten Island on Friday voted in favor of forming a union, making it the online retailer’s first U.S. facility to organize.

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Employees at the fulfillment center, known as JFK8, secured a majority by voting 2,654 to 2,131 in support of the Amazon Labor Union, or about 55% in favor, according to a count by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The number of employees eligible to participate in the vote was 8,325, the NLRB said at the conclusion of the count.

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Amazon did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Amazon Labour Union members celebrate official victory after hearing results regarding the vote to unionize, outside the NLRB offices in Brooklyn (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

A victory for organized labor at the second-largest U.S. private employer is a historic first for the retailing behemoth in the United States and a milestone for labor advocates, who for years have considered Amazon’s labor practices a threat to workers.

Geebah Sando, a package sorter who voted for the union after working more than two years at JFK8, said he was thrilled. “With the union together, we are united,” he said, adding that the labor group could help workers advocate for better pay, break and vacation time.

Amazon JFK8 distribution center union organiser Jason Anthony speaks to the media about preliminary results regarding the vote to unionize, outside the NLRB offices in Brooklyn (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Union organizer Christian Smalls, dressed all in Amazon Labor Union red, raised a hand in victory after the union movement’s win.

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Many doubted Smalls when he announced plans to unionize JFK8 last year, but he set up a tent outside the warehouse, while supporters in the building touted how a union could demand higher wages, safer conditions and job security.

In Alabama, by contrast, a majority of Amazon workers rejected unionization, in a still-not final outcome.

The Alabama contest could hinge on 416 challenged ballots to be adjudicated in the coming weeks, which are sufficient to change the result, said the NLRB. The situation is far different from last year when workers sided with Amazon by a more than 2-to-1 margin against unionizing.

First published on: 01-04-2022 at 10:24:27 pm
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