Workers at an Amazon warehouse in a town located southeast of Albany, New York have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a union election. The warehouse, with the codename ALB1, is hoping to join the Amazon Labor Union, which successfully convinced majority of workers at the company’s JFK8 facility in Staten Island to vote in favor of unionizing earlier this year. An NLRB spokesperson told CNBC that the agency’s office in Buffalo is currently verifying whether the group has truly met the minimum number of signatures needed to hold an election.
Unions typically need to get signatures from 30 percent of eligible members to be able to hold a vote. According to The Washington Post, the ALU previously said that it had passed that threshold for the Albany warehouse. Union organizers at the facility have been working on joining the ALU for months. After Amazon noticed their efforts, the company reportedly held meetings to discourage workers from unionizing. An employee also sent us photos of digital TVs at the Albany facility displaying anti-union messages. To be precise, the messages discouraged people from signing a “card” from the ALU, pertaining to the authorization cards workers have to sign for the warehouse to be able to hold a vote.
The ALU has been demanding for higher pay and safer working conditions for warehouse workers and has previously accused the company of retaliation. A few weeks after it won the election in Staten Island, Amazon fired two of the employees who were involved in its organization efforts. Their fellow organizers believed that it was a retaliatory move by the e-commerce giant. Heather Goodall, a lead organizer at ALB1, said: “The main concerns I hear from workers are about wages and safety. 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.”
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Amazon has long made it clear that it is against workers’ unionization efforts. A spokesperson told The Post: “As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees. Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.” The company also appealed ALU’s victory in Staten Island, accusing organizers of pressuring workers to vote in favor unionizing. A hearing for Amazon’s appeal could be announced sometime this month.