Amid Roadblocks ALU Members Vote to Ratify Affiliation with IBT

Originally published in Labor Today

STATEN ISLAND, NY—The workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse who in 2022 voted to form the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) have voted to affiliate with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). In their press release, the Teamsters announced that a near unanimous 98.3% voted in favor of affiliation. Sources tell us there were 854 ballots cast with 824 yes votes, 14 no votes, and 16 invalid (spoiled) ballots.

The affiliation process was riddled with obstacles including a premature affiliation announcement by the Teamsters before the rank-and-file members were even notified of an agreement and Amazon union-busting, including police intimidation. The NYPD has been outside JFK8 for a week at Amazon’s behest to keep workers away from Teamsters organizers outside the facility, including an attempt to break up the vote at the bus stop outside.

NYPD attempts to intimidate Teamsters organizers outside JFK8 during vote on Monday.

Michelle Valentin-Nieves, a candidate for ALU President (and wrongfully removed Vice President), said this about the ratification vote, “I think the vote represents that Amazon-workers truly want Union representation and affiliation with a larger, more established Union that may help us to achieve our goals in the upcoming challenging times …” She also added that the low turnout, “shows that elections and securing positions in leadership come before the needs of the rank and file. There is little to no organizing happening … lack of communication and transparency has left many workers feeling left out of the process.”

Next up for the now ALU-IBT Local 1 is the officer elections which will take place through July 18. It is clear the fight for a contract is still an uphill battle that requires a newfound internal organizing strategy. Michelle also added she’d like to organize other facilities as well, a move which would only add leverage to that fight. LUEL will stay on top of the situation as it develops.