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Amazon warehouse workers in Albany will vote on unionization in October

A truck arrives at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y., which became the company's first unionized U.S. facility in the spring.
Eduardo Munoz Avarez
/
AP
A truck arrives at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y., which became the company's first unionized U.S. facility in the spring.

Updated September 14, 2022 at 2:03 PM ET

Amazon faces yet another union vote this year, this time at a facility outside Albany, N.Y., months after workers on Staten Island formed the company's first unionized U.S. warehouse.

While Amazon pursues legal challenges to that historic union win, federal labor officials on Wednesday approved the election at the warehouse known as ALB1.

In mid-October, 400 workers there will vote on whether to join the upstart Amazon Labor Union, the same independent group that unionized more than 8,000 at the massive Staten Island warehouse. It's run by current and former Amazon workers, and led by a man whom Amazon fired after he led a pandemic-era walkout.

Other unionization efforts have not been successful. In the spring, workers at a smaller Staten Island warehouse voted against joining the ALU. And unionization efforts have failed so far at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama.

At the Albany-area warehouse, Amazon workers will vote on Oct. 12, 13, 15 and 17 in a tent in the facility's parking lot. The NLRB will tally the ballots on Oct. 18.

Amazon, meanwhile, continues to question whether union organizers gathered enough "legitimate signatures" to warrant the election. Rules require organizers to submit signatures from 30% of the workers they seek to represent. Federal labor officials had assessed this before ruling to schedule a vote.

"We've always said that we want our employees to have their voices heard, and we hope and expect this process allows for that," Amazon spokesperson Paul Flaningan said in a statement.

Amazon earlier this month lost a key battle in its attempt to reverse the union's victory in Staten Island. A National Labor Relations Board official recommended that Amazon's objections be rejected in full and that the union be certified.

A formal NLRB decision on the matter is expected in the coming days, potentially requiring Amazon to begin contract negotiations with the union.

Editor's note: Amazon is among NPR's recent financial supporters.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.