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Amazon | The first American union wants to help other warehouses to mobilize

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(New York) Unionists who won a major victory to create the first union in a US Amazon warehouse said on Friday they had been contacted by about 100 other sites of the group in the country.

“We are witnessing a revolution,” said Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a week after this group of activists won a historic vote among workers at the JFK8 site, located in the Staten Island district of New York.


Photo BRENDAN MCDERMID, archives REUTERS

Christian Smalls

“The fifty (American) states have called us,” he said at a press conference that looked like a festive political rally.

The battle isn’t over in New York — Amazon plans to file a lawsuit with the regulator — but Christian Smalls wants to hold a national conference in May to give advice to workers at other warehouses.

“We will help them,” he promised. “I don’t know exactly how, but we will try.”

In its appeal, Amazon intends to develop several objections. The company believes in particular that the ALU “threatened employees to force them to vote yes” and “campaigned with employees in the queue to vote”, according to official documents filed Thursday with the federal labor law agency (NLRB).

Activists see it as maneuvers to delay the effective creation of the union. Mr. Smalls called the accusations “bullshit”.

He said he was willing to travel to participate in other organizing campaigns, and spoke about the movement underway at Starbucks.

More than 180 cafes in the chain mobilized after the employees of two establishments in Buffalo, in the northeastern United States, voted in December to create a union, a first in the country.

On Friday, three more Starbucks came out in favor of unionization, bringing the total to 16 in the country.

The victory of the Staten Island Amazon site has given hope to many workers aspiring to be represented by a union.

Second largest employer in the United States after Walmart (distribution), the e-commerce giant had since its creation in 1994 succeeded in repelling the desires of employees wishing to regroup in the country.

In Bessemer, Alabama, a promising organizing campaign failed a year ago. The NLRB did indeed find that Amazon broke the rules, and a new ballot was held in March, but there are so many disputed ballots that the result is not yet known.



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