West News Wire: Tuesday saw a massive rejection of a union proposal by Amazon workers in upstate New York, dealing a second setback to the labor movement that has been trying to force the firm to the negotiation table ever since its historic victory earlier this year.

This time, Albany-area warehouse workers cast 406 votes, or roughly 66%, against the Amazon Labor Union, giving the firm enough support to defeat the newly formed union made up of both present and past Amazon employees.

The National Labor Relations Board, which was in charge of monitoring the election, reported that 206 employees, or 33.6%, voted in support of union membership. 949 employees were deemed eligible to vote, according to the agency, and the 31 ballots that Amazon or the union contested were insufficient.

The facility is located in the town of Schodack, near one of the most unionized metro areas in the country, according to Unionstats.com. It’s what’s known as a non-sort center, a warehouse where employees pack more bulky items such as rugs, patio furniture or outdoor equipment.

Experts had noted a win there would have given the union more leverage in its quest to negotiate a contract with Amazon and a chance to demonstrate its prior win at a facility on Staten Island, New York wasn’t a one-off. For now, those hopes seem to be dashed.

During the campaign, the union filed more than two dozen charges with the NLRB accusing the company of unfair labor practices that damaged its ability to organize. Still, Smalls noted they were going to continue their campaign to unionize Amazon warehouses.

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“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” he said.

This was the fourth union election at an Amazon warehouse this year, and the third one led by the ALU. Following their unexpected win in April in Staten Island, the group was stung by a loss shortly thereafter at another, smaller facility nearby. A union election in Alabama, led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, remains too close to call.

Goodall launched the organizing drive near Albany in the spring, just a few months after she joined the company to assess working conditions. Soon after that, she approached the ALU after gaining some support from workers who wanted to unionize.

To push back, Amazon had been holding mandatory meetings for its employees urging them to reject the union, the kind of meetings the NLRB’s top prosecutor is now attempting to outlaw. The company has also been hanging fliers and other literature around the facility encouraging workers to vote no.


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