Amazon Labor Union Loses Election at Warehouse Near Albany By Daniel M. LaBov
Editor, Earth Island Journal
Since September 2015, organizers at the Albany, New York, warehouse have been fighting back against a contract with the California-based company Altra Food Distributors. The warehouse is located in Albany, and is part of a large complex consisting of the warehouse, several trucking businesses and several distribution locations owned by several people, including the family of former UAW President Dennis Williams.
With the help of a local group called the Albany Working Families Coalition (AWFC), organizers have been trying to convince Altra Food to make cuts in wages and benefits, and to reduce the number of employees they require to maintain the space.
Altra Food is a global warehouse distribution company, owned and operated by former Alcoa executives who have long run a system of subcontracting warehousing for their companies. According to Altra Food’s corporate website, the company has warehouses in the US, UK, Canada and Mexico.
The company has not yet responded to our multiple attempts to reach them for comment – a response that is now expected later today.
Organizers say that in its current form, Altra Food’s contract with the Albany warehouse would represent, in the short-term, the largest increase in working conditions in the history of warehousing in the US.
“It goes way beyond anything the union has ever done,” said Andy Megginson, a former organizer with the union who has been active in the fight with Altra Food. “They’re now going to come in and take over a huge chunk of our jobs. This has been a long struggle.”
Altra Food has been in a legal battle with the union and other unions for several years and has tried to negotiate a contract that would represent an 11 percent pay cut. According to the Altra Food website they use more than 200 trucks for their work and employ some 10,000 workers across the US.
The company says that it has seen an increase in the number of warehouse workers in the last few years, but maintains that the wages they pay are competitive with other