Demonstrators during a rally of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) in the Staten Island area of New York, USA, on Sunday, April 24, 2022.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Amazon workers voted Monday as part of another high-stakes union action in a warehouse on New York’s Staten Island.
Approximately 1,500 LDJ5 employees are eligible to vote in elections held in a large white tent outside the institution. Voting began Monday morning and will continue until Friday. The National Labor Council will start counting ballots on May 2.
The election comes across from another Amazon warehouse known as JFK8, which unexpectedly voted in the company’s first union in the U.S. less than a month ago. Unlike JFK8, a massive 855,000-square-foot warehouse with about 6,000 employees, LDJ5 is a much smaller facility where employees sort packages for delivery.
The Amazon labor union, which consists of current and former employees of the company, seeks to unite the second Amazon in unions after its landmark victory at JFK8. ALU is urging Amazon to increase hourly wages for all workers to a minimum of $ 30 an hour. According to Amazon, the average hourly starting fee at U.S. execution centers is $ 18 an hour. The union is also seeking longer breaks and improved aid, among other demands.
The more unions, such as ALU, targeting Amazon, the more aggressive Amazon became, refusing employees to join. The company held mandatory meetings at LDJ5, where employees must attend anti-union presentations, and even hired an influential Democratic questionnaire to help with its campaign.
Last week, Amazon CEO Andy Jesse told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin that the company believes employees are “better off” not joining the union.
“In a place like Amazon, which gives employees opportunities when they see what they can do better for customers or for themselves, they can meet in a room, decide how to change it and change it,” Jesse said. “This kind of empowerment doesn’t happen when you have unions. It’s much more bureaucratic, it’s much slower.”
Amazon is seeking to overturn the election results on JFK8, claiming in a statement to the NLRB that the federal labor agency and the union acted in a way that spoiled the results. A lawyer representing the ALU called Amazon’s allegations “clearly absurd.”
Following the successful election at JFK8 Christian Smalls, president of ALU and a former Amazon employee, said he had heard from a number of employees of other Amazon warehouses across the United States
In recent weeks, Amazon’s efforts to unite have received strong support. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden backed the Amazon workers’ union, saying, “Amazon, here we come.”
On Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And Alexandria MP Acacia-Cortes, DN.Y., joined the ALU at a rally near LDJ5 ahead of the election. Sanders shot Amazon founder Jeff Bezas, the second richest man in the world, in a speech at the rally.
“I’m telling Jeff Bezas, who owns the $ 500 million yacht, Jeff, if you’re on your yacht, I want you to think about the workers on Staten Island and their employees across this country,” Sanders told the audience. “They don’t want a $ 500 million yacht. They don’t want the $ 23 million mansion you have in Washington, DC. They want affordable housing. They want to be able to set aside a few bucks to send their kids to college. “They don’t want to be exploited and continue this massive flow that is happening here because of the terrible working conditions.”