SCHODACK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After Amazon workers voted to unionize in Staten Island in April, workers at the facility in Schodack are hoping to do the same.
The one million square foot Amazon fulfillment center opened in Rensselaer County in September of 2020. The facility boasts it can employ around 1,000 full-time workers. Now, almost two years later, some of those workers, like union campaign manager Heather Goodall, are taking the next steps to unionize, saying they are already at the signature-gathering phase and hope to vote in the near future.
“So we’re going to be receiving additional signatures this week and we are very excited to be moving forward with that,” Goodall tells News10’s Conall Smith, “we have also been in negotiations with the Teamsters, however, we have not been able to come to a written agreement at this time but we’re hoping that we’re going to come together collectively on that.”
Goodall says she has about 30 to 40 percent of the current workforce at the Schodack facility willing to join the union. She hopes by the end of the month to increase that number. The problem union organizers like Goodall face right now is many workers are afraid to speak up out of fear of losing their job; which Goodall says she fears every day over her efforts.
“Every single person in there should know they are safe to use what I call their ‘union voice’. You are entitled to fair wages, and safe working conditions, and you cannot be fired (for unionizing) so we want to make sure that every employee is aware that you can voice your concern, sign the cards, and participate without reprimanding.”
Goodall says she has spoke with managers at the facility about unionizing. Amazon could not immediately be reached for comment.
In April, the Associated Press reported Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, voted to unionize, marking the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant’s history and handing an unexpected win to a nascent group that fueled the union drive. Warehouse workers cast 2,654 votes — or about 55% — in favor of a union, giving the fledgling Amazon Labor Union enough support to pull off a victory. According to the National Labor Relations Board, which is overseeing the process, 2,131 workers — or 45% — rejected the union bid.