Business

Workers at Amazon warehouse in New York vote against unionization

Amazon warehouse workers rejected a union bid on Monday, dealing a blow to organizers who last month pulled off the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant's history.

Setback for organizers after Staten Island facility voted to unionize last month

Demonstrators are shown during an Amazon Labor Union rally outside an Amazon facility in the Staten Island borough of New York on April 24. Workers at the facility voted against unionization on Monday. ( Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, N.Y., rejected a union bid on Monday, dealing a blow to organizers who last month pulled off the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant's history.

Votes were still being tabulated, but ballots cast against the union were enough to fend off a second win for the nascent Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a group of former and current Amazon workers leading the organizing effort.

Ballots that were challenged by either Amazon or the ALU were not enough to sway the outcome.

A separate election held last month gave the ALU a surprise victory when workers at a different Staten Island facility voted in favour of unionizing. That was a first for Amazon in the United States.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement it's up to employees whether they want to join a union. But "as a company, we don't think unions are the best answer for our employees," she said.

"Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work."

A second labour win could give workers in other Amazon facilities — and at other companies — the motivation they need to launch similar efforts. It would also have cemented the power and influence of the ALU within the labour movement.

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