Amazon workers in two Staten Island warehouses will participate in union election votes in the coming weeks, first at the JFK8 facility next Friday, and then at the LDJ5 sortation center beginning on April 25.
The National Labor Relations Board confirmed to Vice that the in-person election for the LDJ5 sortation center had been approved and that the votes will be counted May 2. Both warehouse union movements were organized by an independent group of unaffiliated workers called the Amazon Labor Union.
The two Staten Island warehouse elections are the second and third attempts to successfully unionize a group of Amazon workers over the last few years. The first Amazon union election since 2014, spearheaded by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at a Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, went in favor of Amazon by more than a 2:1 ratio. The NLRB later threw out the results of that election because of Amazon's interference and a second election is currently underway; the votes for that election will be counted March 28.
While Amazon protested the push for a union election at the two Staten Island locations, company spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement after the JFK8 election date was set that "we want our employees to have their voices heard as soon as possible."
Amazon is the country's second-largest private employer and has no formally unionized groups in its workforce. Unionization membership has hovered between 6% to 6.2% of the private sector workforce over the last few years, all-time lows compared to the 17% of the private-sector workforce in unions in the early 1980s. Some union and labor experts argue the decline in unionization can be mostly explained by labor laws that give employers significant power to combat union movements in private sector workplaces.