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Amazon workers vote against unionizing a second Staten Island warehouse

The election results are a major setback for the organized labor movement at the company.

After workers won a landmark union election at an Amazon facility in Staten Island, New York, last month, a second group of employees at a neighboring building have voted not to unionize.

Of the 998 ballots from the LDJ5 facility counted Monday, 618 were against joining the independent Amazon Labor Union, while 380 were in favor. Amazon captured over 60 percent of the vote at the warehouse, which opened in 2020 and employs many part-time workers.

The election results come just weeks after workers at JFK8 — a much larger, neighboring Amazon warehouse — voted in favor of joining the ALU. The outcome at LDJ5 is a setback for the union, which gained national attention over the last year for taking on the country’s second-largest employer. The ALU was started by current and former employees, who began by fighting for greater health protections during the pandemic.

“The organizing will continue at this facility and beyond. The fight has just begun,” the ALU tweeted after the results of the LDJ5 election were announced.

Daniel Allen Mobiley, a worker at LDJ5 who voted in favor of the union, said many of his colleagues didn't know much about the implications of the organizing campaign.

"I think people are very uneducated about what unions are about," Mobiley said. "There is no job security at Amazon, and they really don't understand the workings of Amazon."

The outcome is a major win for Amazon, which invested heavily in thwarting unionization efforts nationwide over the past year. Government filings show it spent more than $4.2 million on labor consultants, while the ALU only raised around $370,000 through the crowdfunding site GoFundMe. Amazon is asking the National Labor Relations Board to overturn the results of the vote at JFK8, after accusing the union and the board itself of violating a litany of different rules.

Image: An Amazon Labor Union (ALU) rally in the Staten Island, N.Y., on  April 24, 2022.
An Amazon Labor Union rally in Staten Island, N.Y., on April 24. Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement about the latest results: “We’re glad that our team at LDJ5 were able to have their voices heard. We look forward to continuing to work directly together as we strive to make every day better for our employees.”

Unlike in prior Amazon union elections, the NLRB said none of the ballots from LDJ5 were still being contested. The results of another vote earlier this year in Bessemer, Alabama, remain unclear after hundreds of ballots were challenged by both Amazon and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Workers previously voted against unionization at the Bessemer facility, during the first election there in 2021.

In the lead-up to the vote at LDJ5, organizers repeatedly accused Amazon of cracking down on union activity at the facility, according to complaints filed with the NLRB. They said the tech giant took down a pro-union banner hung in a break room, confiscated union pamphlets and disciplined the union’s treasurer, Madeline Wesley, for soliciting her colleagues.

In an interview last week, Wesley said Amazon was hosting anti-union meetings at LDJ5 every day during each shift. “They’re really scared of us,” she said.

Amazon has insisted the meetings were intended to educate workers about what a union would mean for their jobs. The company told NBC News that putting up a banner on Amazon property was against company policy, but that workers could discuss union issues and distribute literature in nonworking areas when they were off the clock.

Many of the employees at LDJ5 only work at Amazon part time and do not count on the company for all of their income. The warehouse opened in 2020 and employs roughly 1,600 eligible voters, according to the NLRB, compared to over 8,000 at JFK8.

“Before I say like, OK, yes, I support that union,” Chelsea Bell, a college student who works at LDJ5 and opposed unionization, said in an interview last week, “I want to see what it means.”