Amazon Warehouse Workers in Albany File Petition to Unionize

Amazon workers near Albany, New York, have officially filed a union petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to join the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) after workers announced their union campaign last month, according to the NLRB.

If the workers are successful, they’ll form the company’s second ever union, joining workers in Staten Island who voted to unionize in March after a groundbreaking union campaign led by ALU, an independent union.

According to the NLRB, the filing covers about 400 employees at the ALB1 warehouse. Unionizing employees need to gather signatures from at least 30 percent of the unit in order to qualify for a union election. In order to win the union, more than half of the vote will have to be for the union.

Like other Amazon workers who have filed to unionize, workers are seeking better working conditions and higher pay.

“The main concerns I hear from workers are about wages and safety,” Heather Goodall, a lead union organizer in the campaign, told The Washington Post. “Besides that, there’s no job security. There’s no way to rest on a 15-minute break. Workers want to be able to use the bathroom freely.”

When ALU announced the union campaign in July, the union wrote that “Amazon has exploited us for far too long…. The only way we can pressure Amazon into treating us with respect is by uniting and forming a worker-led union.”

The company has tried to pressure workers against voting for the union by posting anti-union fliers messages on TV screens in the warehouse. It has also held meetings that ran a slideshow with misleading claims that unions are a “business that sell a service.” Union lawyers have so far filed at least five unfair labor practice charges against the company and have accused it of illegal union busting.

The company said in a statement that it’s opposed to unionization for its employees and that its “focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”

If the filing is certified by the NLRB, the Albany warehouse will be the fourth in the company to undergo a union vote. Another Staten Island-area warehouse seeking to join ALU voted against unionizing in May after the company led a fierce union-busting campaign.

In March, Bessemer, Alabama Amazon workers’ vote to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) ended up being too close to call, with hundreds of contested ballots that are being investigated by the NLRB. This was the second election for the Bessemer workers; last year, the NLRB ordered a rerun election for the warehouse after finding that Amazon had illegally interfered with the union campaign.

Meanwhile, the first unionized warehouse is in limbo as the labor board reviews Amazon’s objections to the union’s win, delaying the bargaining process. Amazon has been cracking down on the union inside the warehouse in the meantime, firing several worker-organizers and refusing to recognize the union.