By COLIN STAUB
Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which formed the first U.S. union at an Amazon warehouse this year, announced it’s organizing another facility near Albany, New York.
The independent union asked the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election covering 400 workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Schodack, New York, just outside Albany.
In an Aug. 17 press conference, warehouse worker and lead organizer Heather Goodall said workers want safer conditions. Falling boxes and equipment failures have caused workplace injuries, she said. One worker lost a fingertip in a conveyor belt accident. Goodall said there have been 120 emergency medical response calls since the facility opened 18 months ago.
Goodall said workers start at $15.70 an hour, and 40% of workers are on food stamps or other forms of public assistance.
“How is it that Amazon is such a wealthy corporation, yet they allow their employees to be dependent on state and federal funds to actually support their employees,” Goodall said at the livestreamed announcement.
Workers there have already experienced anti-union tactics from management. The company is holding anti-union meetings. Flyers have gone up in the warehouse describing ALU as a profit-seeking corporation and telling workers not to sign cards in support of ALU.
“I think that’s a clear message that they are scared of us,” Goodall said. “And they should be.”
ALU won an election at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island by a vote of 2,654 to 2,131 in ballots counted April 1. It marked the first successful union campaign at a U.S. Amazon facility (though lawyers for Amazon continue to object to the election and appeal the results).
Shortly after the victory, ALU ran a campaign at another Amazon warehouse on Staten Island, but workers voted against unionizing by 618 to 380.