According to the National Labor Relations Board, an Amazon warehouse in Castleton, New York, is the latest e-commerce giant to seek unionization. The Amazon Labor Union, which ran a successful organizing campaign and an unsuccessful campaign in Staten Island, NY warehouses earlier in 2022, filed the petition.
The union would represent approximately 400 Castleton warehouse workers, including many associates who worked average four hours or more per week during the 13 weeks immediately preceding the date of eligibility for election.
“Our employees have a choice whether or not to join a union,” Amazon spokesman Paul Flanagan said in an interview with Reuters. “They always have. As a company, we don’t believe that unions are the best answer for our employees. Our goal remains to work directly with our team to continue to make Amazon a great place to work.
Amazon warehouses have been slower to unionize than Starbucks stores, which have racked up more 200 victories in 2022, and the effort has suffered several setbacks. The first unionization attempt, which took place in an Alabama warehouse in April 2021, failed. A union petition was filed for a New Jersey warehouse in April 2022 but was ultimately withdrawn.
Unions are still the exception rather than the rule in retail footprints, but their spread is causing a stir. Companies including Apple and Trader Joe’s are experiencing successful union activity in some locations, and the continued unionization of Starbucks stores shows that efforts are gaining momentum, especially among retailers who express progressive values.
“[These retailers] support Black Lives Matter, they support LGBTQ rights, and they support environmental justice,” said John Logan, professor and chair of the Department of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco State University in an interview with Retail Touch Points. “Because of that, they attract a particular kind of workers who are attracted to those values, and those are the kinds of workers who support unions. It seems too simplistic, but Essentially, Starbucks hired the kind of self-assured, independent barista who gave this union campaign momentum..”