Amazon, one of the United State’s largest employers and a mainstay of Americans’ shopping habits, has long resisted unionization efforts such as union drives in 2000 and 2014. In recent years, though, the calls for unionization have grown louder and more public — and an upstart union was even able to win an election at one of the company’s facilities in New York.
The recent string of elections started in Bessemer, Alabama, when the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union attempted to organize Amazon’s BHM1 facility, which had around 5,800 workers at the time. In 2021, the workers voted resoundingly against unionizing, but the union successfully petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a redo, claiming that Amazon had interfered by installing a mailbox at its own facility. The second election saw lower turnout, but much closer results, though the large number of contested ballots left the results hanging in the balance.
Elsewhere, the Amazon Labor Union, an organization made up of former and current Amazon workers that’s not affiliated with a larger union, has made attempts to organize multiple warehouses in Staten Island, New York. It ended up securing union votes at two facilities: JFK8, and LDJ5. On April 1st, 2022, workers at JFK8 voted to organize with the ALU, making their warehouse the first Amazon facility to unionize. About a month later, workers at the next-door LDJ5 facility voted against unionizing.
Throughout all of this, Amazon has faced accusations of union busting, and other attempts to interfere with the electoral process (some of which have been bizarre — it allegedly manipulated traffic patterns in Alabama). For its part, the company has accused the unions, and the National Labor Relations board, of doing the same. But with at least one warehouse unionized, it seems certain there will be other attempts to organize, and you can keep up with the latest on those efforts in this StoryStream.