Amazon workers in New York City reject union in a reversal of fortune

Christian Smalls speaks to a crowd outdoors
Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union, speaks at a rally outside an Amazon facility on Staten Island in New York on April 24.
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

Amazon warehouse workers rejected a union bid Monday, dealing a blow to organizers who last month pulled off the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant’s history.

Votes were still being tabulated, but ballots cast against the union were enough to fend off a second win for the nascent Amazon Labor Union, a group of former and current Amazon workers leading the organizing effort.

Ballots that were challenged by either Amazon or the ALU were not enough to sway the outcome.


Amazon doubled the size of its logistics network over a two-year period. It faces a bloated workforce as growth in e-commerce slows.

A separate election held last month gave a nascent group of organizers known as the Amazon Labor Union a surprise victory when workers at a different Staten Island facility voted in favor of unionizing. That was a first for Amazon in the U.S.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement, “as a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees. Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”

Meanwhile, the final outcome of a separate union election in Bessemer, Ala., is still up in the air with 416 outstanding challenged ballots hanging in the balance. Hearings to review those ballots are expected to begin in the coming weeks.