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Amazon Labor Union Extends Its Efforts to Help a Warehouse in New York and Kentucky

ALU President Chris Smalls vows to help warehouses in Kentucky and New York
ALU President Chris Smalls vows to help warehouses in Kentucky and New York

In April, a group of Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, managed to vote for a union, becoming the first ever American union within the company. They have since shown their support for other campaigns, the latest in two additional warehouses.

The worker-led union, Amazon Labor Union, has reached agreements to help organize and provide financial assistance to workers attempting to merge warehouses in Albany, New York and Campbellsville, Kentucky, both of which will be affiliated as formal branches of the union, according to ALU President Chris Smalls.

Recent developments show how worker-led union campaigns are growing, which experts say raises the possibility that the victory of the ALU could promote unionization in other warehouses.

However, they warn that the size of Amazon’s warehouses and Amazon’s well-equipped anti-union efforts will continue to be a major obstacle to many union campaigns. “This shows workers are coming together,” said ALU co-founder Jordan Flowers. “These workers want to see a union now, and they’re choosing ALU.”

Read also: Michigan Starbucks Locations the Latest to Join Union Efforts

ALU collaborations were first reported by More Perfect Union. Meanwhile, employees at Garner, North Carolina are currently in discussions with them as a third facility, according to Amazon warehouse worker Ryan Brown.

“We’re going to assist them 100%,” said Chris Smalls. “Whatever they need: resources, money, going out there.”

Amazon continues to voice its opposition to union campaigns with spokeswoman Kelly Nantel sharing a statement.

“Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have,” said Nantel. “As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answers for our employees. Our focus remains on working directly to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”

The ALU was powered by a GoFundMe page that ran a month-long campaign at the 6,000-employee Staten Island warehouse, becoming one of the biggest job wins in the United States in recent times.

Although victorious, Amazon filed objections to the National Labor Relations Board to overturn the result, claiming that NLRB officials displayed bias against workers and union leaders bribed colleagues to gain their support. The ALU denied the claims as NLRB hearings continue today.

In May, ALU lost a second union election at another Staten Island warehouse. The partnerships with Albany and Campbellsville mark the first union campaigns since the union conducted on Staten Island.

Warehouse worker Matt Littrell said employees wanted Amazon to accommodate the demanding work pace and uncomfortable heat in the building.

“The same issues come up time and time again, and they have for many years, yet the management is very apathetic towards those,” said Littrell. “We wanted to go with a union made up of workers and people who understand our unique environment.”

Read also: Experts Believe Maryland’s Apple Store Unionization Could Start a Nationwide Domino Effect

Opinions expressed by Market Daily contributors are their own.