Corporations are still debating how to approach intensifying labor campaigns across the country as the union drives draw some serious media attention. More than 130 Starbucks (SBUX) locations across 26 states have filed for union recognition since the first victory seen in Buffalo last fall. Battles are also heating up at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), with union votes held at warehouses in New York and Alabama in recent weeks.
JFK8: An early count shows a potential victory for organized labor at the Staten Island warehouse, which would create the first-ever union at an Amazon (AMZN) facility in the U.S. At the end of counting on Thursday, the Amazon Labor Union was ahead by a margin of 1,518 votes to 1,154, with the process likely to conclude on Friday. Amazon (AMZN) has worked hard to oppose the effort at its largest fulfillment center in New York, tapping PR firm Global Strategy Group to thwart the effort.
BHM1: Another defeat appears to be in the cards after the National Labor Relations Board ordered a rerun of a vote at the Bessemer warehouse. "No" votes totaled 993 to 875, though 416 ballots remain challenged by Amazon and the RWDSU (meaning things can change in the coming weeks if the NLRB decides to open and count them). The first time around, Amazon (AMZN) was found to have improperly polled workers' union support during mandatory company meetings, as well as installed a mailbox at the facility that could have intimidated workers by giving a false impression that Amazon (AMZN) was conducting the election.
Outlook: Union supporters are calling for higher wages, better health coverage (like more support for injured workers), and a safer and transparent system for monitoring productivity. On the other side of the fence, Amazon feels that unions are unnecessary given its industry-leading healthcare, vacation time and recent move to raise average starting pay to $18 an hour. For both elections, a simple majority of the return vote is needed in order for the union to begin organizing.