Amazon workers at the company’s in Staten Island warehouse have started voting on whether to form a union as labor organizers look to New York for the retail giant’s first-ever union victory in its 28-year history.
Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the United States, has long been a target for labor advocates hoping a single union victory will spark organizing efforts across the country.
Geebah Sando, a package sorter who has worked at JFK8 for over two years, said he will vote for the union.
With children to care for and rising rents in New York, Sando hopes that a unionized workplace will result in higher wages and more benefits, such as longer breaks and more paid time off.
Sando said: “Our salary is not working with our economic situation,”.
Amazon has previously stated that the safety of its employees is a top priority and that the company is investing heavily to assist employees.
The push to organize is spearheaded by a group of workers known as the Amazon Labor Union.
In-person voting at JFK8 will last until Wednesday, March 30, with votes set to be counted on Thursday, March 31.
Keisha Renaud, 50, an associate from East Orange, New Jersey, said she would leave if the forming of a union was successful.
She said: “The energy they are taking to start a union, why didn’t they take that energy to start a team to talk to the managers? I think Amazon would listen.”
Some workers said they are open to a unionized workplace but have concerns about Amazon Labor Union’s ability to advocate on their behalf.
Workers at the company’s other warehouse in Staten Island, LDJ5, will also vote in person on whether to unionize starting April 25.
A rerun of last year’s failed union organizing campaign at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, is also scheduled to conclude on Friday.
Votes will be counted starting on Monday, March 28 for this second closely watched election.
The American labor movement has added impetus over the past year, inspired by the high-profile Alabama campaign, ongoing pandemic concerns and strikes.
Source: US News