Amazon workers at New York warehouse vote to unionize, 1st of retail giant’s U.S. workforce to do so | CBC News

Amazon warehouse workers in the Staten Island neighborhood of New York City voted for union formation on Friday, marking the first successful U.S. organizational effort in the online store giant’s history and handing over an unexpected win to an incipient group that sped up union drive.

Polls were still tabulated, but union supporters secured a wide enough margin to give the newly formed Amazon Labor Union enough support to win a victory. The votes that were either invalidated or questioned by Amazon or ALU did not seem to be sufficient to affect the outcome.

More than 8,300 eligible workers voted. Amazon provides the list of eligible workers to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversees the process. The organizers say that a high rate of departure may have shrunk that pool since the election was planned.

On Thursday evening, more than 1,500 votes had been counted in favor of the union. Just over 1,100 were against.

“Being a leader on day 1 and standing up a couple of hundred against a trillion-dollar company, this is the best feeling in the world,” said Chris Smalls, a fired Amazon employee who has led the union work.

“shocking” results

John Logan, director of work and employment studies at San Francisco State University, said the early vote counts in New York have been “shocking.” The nascent Amazon Labor Union, which leads the charge on Staten Island, has no support from an established union and is run by former and current warehouse workers.

“I don’t think many people thought the Amazon Labor Union had a great chance of winning at all,” Logan said. “And I think we’ll see more of them [approaches] going forward.”

The victory was an uphill battle for the independent group, which was knocked out by the deep retail giant. Nevertheless, say the organizers, their grassroots strategy was more related to workers and helped to win where established unions have failed in the past.

Chris Smalls, who had been fired from the facility, led the union work. (Bloomberg)

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