By Doyinsola Oladipo and Jeffrey Dastin
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Amazon.com Inc workers voted against unionizing a second warehouse in New York City, a ballot count on Monday showed, representing a defeat for labor organizers just weeks after celebrating their first U.S. win at the retailing giant.
Employees at the company’s sortation center in the borough of Staten Island, known as LDJ5, voted 618 to 380 against joining the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), according to a tally by U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officials. Turnout was about 61%.
The rejection risks slowing momentum for labor advocates who since the pandemic have made greater progress organizing at Amazon in the United States than at any other time in the company’s 27-year-old history.
As the second-largest U.S. private employer, the company has long been a focus for unions that consider Amazon’s practices a threat to workers. Amazon instead says it offers more than double the federal minimum wage and “comprehensive” benefits and empowers staff to change its workplace for the better.
Earlier this year, some 55% of employees who voted from Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse next door to LDJ5 had opted to become part of the ALU, which has argued for higher pay and job security under the leadership of former worker Christian Smalls. It marked the first time U.S. workers had decided to unionize at Amazon.
The retailer has called for a re-run of that election, saying the NLRB’s Brooklyn office appeared to support the union drive and that labor organizers intimidated staff to vote in their favor. The ALU has dismissed the allegations, which the NLRB’s Phoenix-based region will weigh in a hearing starting later this month.
The ALU’s win had followed a streak of union victories at Starbucks Corp stores, in what some labor experts have described as a resurgence of worker interest in unions in the United States.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin and Doyinsola Oladipo; writing by Julia Love; editing by Chris Reese and Bill Berkrot)