Amazon staff at a warehouse in Albany file to vote on unionization

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Amazon staff at a warehouse close to Albany, N.Y., filed for a union election with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board on Tuesday.

They’re looking for to affix the unbiased Amazon Labor Union, which gained a historic victory in Staten Island in April — making it the primary U.S. Amazon warehouse to vote to unionize. If it goes via, it is going to be the third election for Amazon Labor Union and the fourth vote on unionization in Amazon’s historical past.

Sometimes, unions want signed authorization playing cards from greater than 30 p.c of eligible union members to qualify to carry an election. Amazon Labor Union wouldn’t affirm what number of signatures they’ve gathered from workers on the Albany facility, however have beforehand mentioned that they had surpassed that threshold.

The group, which has largely organized staff in New York, is asking for greater wages and safer working situations. It has repeatedly accused Amazon of illegally retaliating towards staff who help the union, together with in Albany, the place attorneys have filed not less than 5 unfair labor follow expenses, alleging amongst different issues that the corporate illegally applied a coverage that prohibits workers from “access[ing] Amazon buildings or work areas during off-duty periods.” These expenses are at the moment beneath investigation.

Organizers on the warehouse simply outdoors Albany metropolis limits introduced their intention to unionize final month.

Amazon staff launch marketing campaign to unionize in Albany

“The main concerns I hear from workers are about wages and safety,” mentioned Heather Goodall, a lead organizer of the union marketing campaign in Albany. “Besides that, there’s no job security. There’s no way to rest on a 15 minute break. Workers want to be able to use the bathroom freely.”

Amazon, which is the second largest non-public employer within the U.S., has more and more been focused by labor unions, together with the Retail, Warehouse, and Division Retailer Union and the Teamsters. However it was the unbiased, grassroots Amazon Labor Union that scored the primary actual victory at Amazon when in April it gained union illustration at a warehouse in Staten Island.

Amazon objected to the outcomes of that election, and the labor board’s choice on that case remains to be pending following a months-long listening to this summer time. However new organizing exercise just like the submitting in Albany means that whilst Amazon has thrown up highway blocks — and allegedly engaged in unlawful retaliation — momentum within the labor motion at Amazon persists.

Amazon staff vote to affix a union in New York in historic transfer

In its submitting, Amazon Labor Union mentioned there could be round 400 workers within the bargaining unit. Greater than half of the employees who vote must vote in favor of unionizing for the union to be licensed. Amazon can problem the union’s calculation; up to now, the corporate has argued to extend bargaining unit dimension to extend the edge of sure votes the union has to succeed in.

Kayla Blado, a NLRB spokesperson, declined to say what number of signed playing cards ALU submitted, however mentioned the regional workplace in Albany will probably be reviewing the submitting to ensure ALU has the variety of signatures required to safe a vote.

On Tuesday afternoon, Amazon spokesperson Paul Flaningan mentioned the corporate had not but been made conscious of the union submitting. Amazon has beforehand mentioned it values working instantly with workers to resolve points and that it pays excessive wages and gives nice advantages. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Publish.

In latest weeks, the corporate has posted anti-union supplies across the warehouse on fliers and digital TV screens that learn: “don’t sign a card.” Administration has additionally held group conferences, the place they’ve warned staff in regards to the penalties of becoming a member of a union.

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Amazon has filed objections to Amazon Labor Union’s win in Staten Island, and the labor board’s ruling on that listening to are anticipated to be introduced later this month. The trial has delayed the bargaining course of, and it might be months or years till the union secures a collective bargaining settlement in Staten Island. The outcomes of a union election in Bessemer, Ala., the place staff have twice voted on whether or not to affix the Retail, Wholesale, and Division Retailer Union, are additionally tied up because of objections and appeals on either side.

The labor board will announce the dates the election in Albany will probably be held, in addition to how it is going to be performed, in a future submitting.

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