Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center on the outskirts of Albany voted not to join the Amazon Labor Union Tuesday — the nascent group of former and current employees behind a successful union drive on Staten Island earlier this year.
Of the 643 employees who cast ballots, 406 voted not to join the ALU, while 206 supported the group, according to Kayla Blado, a spokesperson for the National Labor Relations Board, which finished counting the ballots shortly before noon on Tuesday. Just under a thousand employees work at the site.
Chris Smalls, the president of the Amazon Labor Union, said he was proud of the organizers’ efforts at the “ALB1” fulfillment center, but called the proceeding a “sham” election, saying workers faced daily retribution for their union drive.
“[They] stood up in the face of a vicious anti-union campaign to challenge a trillion-dollar corporation,” he said. “We’re also feeling both anger and disappointment that the voting process wasn’t free and fair.”
It wasn’t immediately clear if the ALU would challenge the election results.
Since August, attorneys for the Amazon Labor Union have filed two dozen charges of unfair labor practices by Amazon, records show. They’ve cited numerous instances of retaliation, discipline and surveillance of union organizers.
Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said the company was glad workers chose to keep the “direct relationship with Amazon.”
“We think that this is the best arrangement for both our employees and customers,” Nantel said. “We will continue to work directly with our teammates in Albany, as we do everywhere, to keep making Amazon better every day."
The unsuccessful election was the second loss for the Amazon Labor Union in recent months.
In April, ALU organizers at the JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island stunned the world, when workers voted overwhelmingly to join the union. But a subsequent election at the warehouse fell short. Despite that, the Amazon Labor Union has promised further organizing campaigns, and last week Amazon workers at a California warehouse indicated they too wanted to join.
Despite the first victory on Staten Island, Amazon has yet to begin bargaining with workers there. The company is challenging the results of that election in court on the grounds that both the NLRB and the ALU unfairly influenced the election.