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Midtown Amazon Customers React to Union Vote Count





SARAH YOKUBAITIS, HOST: The fate of Amazon Warehouse Workers' vote to unionize on Staten Island remains up in the air. Over the last week, current and former employees have cast their ballots to decide if the Amazon Labor Union should represent the thousands of workers in New York. Key items they want to address? Pay and working conditions. If workers vote to organize, the union would be the first of its kind for Amazon. Rebekah Robinson heads to Midtown to see how Amazon customers feel about the vote.


REBEKAH ROBINSON, BYLINE: For some Amazon workers today’s vote could mean history. But for shoppers here at the Amazon Go store in Midtown, it’s a normal morning. Walking out of the store with a plastic-wrapped sandwich is Ingrid Alleyne. On one hand, she says she’s a fan of unions, but on the other, no matter what the outcome says she’s gonna keep shopping at Amazon.


Ingrid Alleyne:

Everybody's entitled to a job and great pay and great benefits. So I think as long as Amazon is fair with their workers, it's a win-win for everybody.


ROBINSON: The Amazon Go store looks like a typical storefront, but there’s no cash register and shoppers have to use an app on their phones to get through the turnstile. You can just grab and go without stopping to pay. The app automatically charges your Amazon account. It’s this kind of convenience that keeps shoppers coming back, like Julie Merry, who says no matter what happens with the vote, easy access to Amazon services would be too hard to part with.


JULIE MERRY:

No, I personally use them for convenience, but I would applaud that workers have the option for unions.


ROBINSON: Peering into the window outside is one Amazon customer who’s never been into one of these Amazon stores. Florine Kern says she prefers to look for alternatives to Amazon when possible. But she’s from Germany, where she says they have another retailer that’s similar but with a better reputation with how it treats its workers. She says the outcome of the vote could change how she shops with Amazon.


FLORINE KERN:

I mean, I also buy from Amazon, but I don't feel good about it. And I'm always like,

oh, I should buy somewhere else, and maybe that will change it.


ROBINSON: While the labor union dispute doesn’t seem to both the shoppers here today, Shamira Durant says one thing would get them to stop shopping at Amazon.


SHAMIRA DURANT: If the prices go really, really high —


ROBINSON: The outcome for today’s vote won’t be as quick as a Prime Delivery. It may take until Saturday to arrive.


Rebekah Robinson, Columbia Radio News.

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