Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center just outside of Albany filed petitions requesting a union election, the National Labor Relations Board confirmed this week.
The Amazon Labor Union, the group of former and current employees that formed Amazon’s first union at a warehouse on Staten Island, filed to represent roughly 400 workers at the facility in Schodack, according to Kayla Blado, a spokesperson for the NLRB.
The NLRB will tally up the union cards in the coming days to verify the union surpassed the 30 percent threshold required to hold an official vote, Blado said.
“We are incredibly excited and proud,” said Cassio Mendoza, a spokesperson for the ALU, in a statement. The group planned to address the public outside the NLRB offices in Albany on Wednesday afternoon.
Paul Flaningan, an Amazon spokesperson, said employees have a choice on whether or not to join a union. Flaningan said 1,000 people work at the facility and it wasn’t immediately clear what accounted for the discrepancy with the union tally.
“As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees,” he said. “Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”
The request for a union election in Schodack follows two union drives on Staten Island propelled by the ALU. At the first warehouse, known as JFK8, workers made history in April when they voted to join the ALU. A subsequent vote at a warehouse across the street came up short.
Union organizers have campaigned for higher pay, longer breaks, and safer working conditions. But the company has spent millions of dollars on dissuading workers from joining them. The tactics have been challenged by the ALU’s attorneys dozens of times before the NLRB.
The Schodack workers’ request for a union vote comes amid a frenzy of organizing at companies such as Starbucks and Apple that have long resisted unions. According to the NLRB data, requests for union elections were up 58 percent during the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022, nationwide.
Amazon is challenging the union's first victory before the NLRB — arguing the ALU and the labor relations board itself unfairly interfered — and asking an administrative judge to overturn the results. After several weeks of testimony that began in mid-June, the judge is still deliberating on whether to uphold the vote.
Meanwhile, last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announced a probe into workplace safety and on-the-job injuries in Amazon warehouses, which some studies suggest occur at higher rates than at other companies. In recent weeks, OSHA was reportedly investigating three worker deaths at company warehouses in New Jersey.