Amazon workers’ ballots will be counted on Tuesday in the retailer’s 4th union vote this year

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Oct 18 (Reuters) – The result of Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) fourth union election this year is expected as early as Tuesday, when U.S. labor council officials begin counting ballots that workers in an upstate New York warehouse have submitted over the past week.

At ALB1, the retailer’s fulfillment center in Castleton-on-Hudson, hundreds of employees were given the opportunity to decide whether or not to join the Amazon Labor Union. Led by former Amazon employee Christian Smalls, the ALU won a majority vote in April to form the retailer’s first-ever U.S. union, in the New York borough of Staten Island.

He then lost an attempt to unionize a second establishment in New York City just a month later. The long-established retail, wholesale and department store union was also unable to organize an Amazon warehouse in Alabama this year, although that result is not still final.

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The ALU is now heading into the fourth Amazon union vote count this year after overcoming various challenges. He has faced some internal dissent and is awaiting certification of his initial Staten Island victory, pending review by a US Labor Council director of Amazon’s objections. He cannot bargain collectively until then.

Unionizing Amazon has long been a goal of the U.S. labor movement, which seeks to represent workers in America’s second-largest private employer after Walmart Inc (WMT.N) and seeks to stem practices criticized by some workers, such as tracking the productivity. A second win would give the ALU momentum to stage even more facilities.

A loss would reignite skepticism about whether the ALU can rally workers whose employers have notoriously discouraged unionization. Over the past year, Amazon has denigrated unions in bathroom signage as well as workshops that thousands of employees have had to attend.

Amazon recently increased its average starting salary in the US for frontline staff as well, to more than $19 an hour from $18; Industry-wide, the median wage in warehousing and storage was $18.38 in May 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The ALU is nonetheless riding a wave of heightened union interest among American corporate workers after years of decline, backed by the pro-Labour administration of US President Joe Biden. Just this month, he called for a union vote at an Amazon warehouse in Southern California, and he backed a staff protest over working conditions on Staten Island following a a fire ; Amazon suspended some workers afterwards.

A simple majority of valid ballots submitted by Amazon workers will determine whether the upstate New York plant will unionize. It was unclear early Tuesday how many had voted.

The count is expected to begin at 10 a.m. EDT (2 p.m. GMT).

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Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto, California. Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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