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The First Amazon Union

Staten Island warehouse overcomes obstacles to achieve landmark first


You almost expected someone to yell "April Fool's!" But it never came.


Corporate giant Amazon has a unionized facility for the first time in its 27-year history. Workers at a Staten Island, N.Y., location of the shipping/tech services conglomerate voted to form a union April 1 despite two years of resistance, achieving a landmark victory for employees at the country's second largest private employer.

An Amazon employee pickets outside a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.


It's also likely a victory for an American workforce seeking increasing flexibility and employee empowerment in precarious times.


Credit is due to other Amazon branches who dented the corporate fortifications designed to suppress unionizing: namely the efforts of an Amazon location in Bessemer, Alabama. Almost exactly a year ago, that warehouse held its first vote. Just six days ago, it lost the second attempt just as it did in April 2021. However, in both instances in Bessemer, employees are asking for a recall vote after claiming miscounted votes.


So how, and why, did this particular ALU (Amazon Labor Union) location reach the summit? Especially when, as one report from CNN suggested, it had to battle through personal attacks and corporate intimidation? It was through what some might call a "Gen-Z" outreach approach that included grassroots organizational tools like GoFundMe pages and TikTok—combined with traditional methods like providing home-cooked meals for employees and t-shirts for awareness.


Reading more about Christian Smalls and his movement is worth the time. Big-picture-wise, the vote is a landmark decision that will surely spark ripple effects in the American workforce.

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