Employees at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse in New York voted to form the e-commerce giant’s first American union. In the vote, 2654 employees said they were in favor of the union and 2,131 were against, according to data provided by the National Labor Relations Board of Brooklyn.
The historic vote is the result of the battle of Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee fired for organizing a protest in 2020 for greater protection against Covid, which created the Amazon Labor Union with which he obtained victory over the Seattle giant that in the past it had managed to block any other attempt at unionization.
When the results were announced, applause rang out from the small crowd gathered for the occasion at the foot of the building in the Brooklyn neighborhood where the counting took place. The name of the union, ALU, is sung several times. Its president Christian Smalls uncorks a bottle of champagne: “People have spoken today, they want a union,” he said. Shortly after, in front of the press, he ironically thanked Amazon boss Jeff Bezos for going into space, “because while he was up there, we were able to create a union.”
In decline for several decades, unions have achieved several symbolic victories in the United States in recent months, starting with the explicit support of US President Joe Biden. He also greeted the victory of the ALU union, saying “happy” that the employees can “be heard”.