Amazon Workers In Albany Reject Union Bid

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Amazon workers at a warehouse near Albany rejected a unionization effort on Tuesday, delivering a huge blow to the efforts of an upstart labor union to get workers together.

The tally was 206 votes in support of the union and 406 votes against. Officials said that 949 workers at the ALB1 warehouse were eligible to vote on whether they should become part of the Amazon Labor Union. Four ballots were voided. The results of the election still need to be certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

The results are the latest setback for the Amazon Labor Union, a grassroots organization of current and former Amazon employees, which won in April at the JFK8 warehouse on New York's Staten Island. The group also lost a vote in May at a nearby warehouse on Staten Island.

Chris Smalls, president of ALU, said in a statement that the voting process "wasn't free and fair," suggesting the union may seek to challenge the election results. Lawyers for the ALU already filed 27 unfair labor practice charges against Amazon with the National Labor Relations Board.

"It was a sham election where workers were subjected to intimidation and retaliation on a daily basis and even the workers who volunteered to be election observers were faced with threats of termination," Smalls said.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement. "We're glad that our team in Albany was able to have their voices heard, and that they chose to keep the direct relationship with Amazon as we think that this is the best arrangement for both our employees and customers."

Workers at ALB1 hoped the union would help employees obtain higher wages. Amazon last month bumped up the starting wage at the facility to $17 an hour, up from $15.70 an hour, alongside pay rises for front-line workers across the country.

Amazon faces an upswing of labor organizing across the country. Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Southern California filed a union petition with the hopes of joining the ALU. Amazon workers at facilities in California, Illinois and Georgia recently held walkouts, in time for Amazon's fall Prime Day discount event, in order to ask the company to respond to employee concerns around working conditions.

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