The leaders, Christian Smalls and Mr Palmer, met with the heads of the main unions, who pledged resources and support. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, rallied outside LDJ5 on April 24, the day before voting began.
At JFK8, workers often work 10-hour shifts or more, four days a week, but at LDJ5, many work part-time. The lack of full-time work has become a common grievance, especially since the location on Staten Island often requires long commutes.
But part-time workers are generally more difficult to organize because they interact less and invest less in their workplace. At Amazon, part-time employees don’t get health care, but they do have access to other benefits, like 401(k) matching, that aren’t typically similar at other part-time jobs.
Micheal Aguilar, an employee at the facility who actively supported the union, said several co-workers he got to know personally confided that they had voted no.
“Some of them are young – I don’t think they even know what a union is,” Mr Aguilar said, adding: “I think they thought Amazon was just a stepping stone, then collecting money there, then going into their own careers, they didn’t understand why they would want it if it was only temporary for them.
The union pushed for the vote despite the fact that many of its top officials and organizers work at JFK8 rather than the smaller facility, giving the group a weaker presence inside. Organizers tried to counter this in the weeks leading up to the vote by regularly spending a few hours talking to workers outside LDJ5 after their shifts, but admitted they didn’t have the same relationship with workers. workers there.