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At an Amazon warehouse in upstate New York, workers vote against unionizing

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Amazon has avoided another unionization effort. Its workers in upstate New York voted decisively against forming the company's second unionized warehouse nationwide. A note that Amazon is among NPR's financial supporters. NPR's Alina Selyukh reports.

ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: By a 2-1 margin, Amazon workers at a warehouse near Albany, N.Y., voted against joining the Amazon Labor Union. This same independent group had in the spring formed Amazon's first ever unionized workplace in the U.S.

HEATHER GOODALL: Regardless of the outcome, we brought people together to use their voice.

SELYUKH: Albany organizer and Amazon worker Heather Goodall told reporters the union drive itself produced results.

GOODALL: We brought people together to demand for change. We now are seeing repairs in the building. We just saw a raise. Even if you voted no, those people had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come to the table and speak their voice.

SELYUKH: After decades of little union action, this was the fifth union vote at Amazon in less than two years. Amazon is appealing to overturn the Amazon Labor Unions first and only victory on Staten Island. The company cites its pay and benefits as reasons why unionization hasn't taken off. The raise Goodall mentioned was Amazon recently adding a dollar to starting pay for many up to $17 an hour. But labor organizers also accused the company of unfair labor practices, including illegal intimidation of pro-union workers, which Amazon denies.

CATHERINE FISK: Unionization is a long, slow process.

SELYUKH: Catherine Fisk at the University of California, Berkeley, says U.S. laws mean labor efforts at big companies can take years, making the union's loss in Albany...

FISK: An early skirmish in what's probably going to be a very long war.

SELYUKH: Over the future of work at America's second-largest private employer.

Alina Selyukh, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOUSE ON THE KEYS' "PHASES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Alina Selyukh is a business correspondent at NPR, where she follows the path of the retail and tech industries, tracking how America's biggest companies are influencing the way we spend our time, money, and energy.

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