The leaders, Christian Smalls and Mr. Palmer, met with the heads of major labor unions, who vowed resources and support. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, rallied in front of LDJ5 on April 24, the day before voting began.
At JFK8, workers often have 10-hour shifts, if not longer, four days a week, but at LDJ5, many work part time. The lack of full-time work has become a common grievance, particularly since the location on Staten Island often requires long commutes.
But part-time workers are typically harder to organize because they interact less and have lower overall investment in their workplace. At Amazon, part-time employees do not get health care, but they do have access to other benefits, like 401(k) matching, that are not typically similar at other part-time jobs.
Micheal Aguilar, an employee at the facility who was active in supporting the union, said several co-workers he had gotten to know personally had confided that they voted no.
“Some of them are young — I don’t think they even know what a union is,” Mr. Aguilar said, adding: “I believe they thought Amazon was just a steppingstone, and then collect money from this place and then go into their own careers. They didn’t understand why they would want it if it’s just temporary to them.”
The union pressed for the vote despite the fact that many of its top officials and organizers work at JFK8 rather than the smaller facility, giving the group a weaker presence inside. Organizers tried to counter this in the weeks before the voting by regularly spending a few hours talking to workers outside LDJ5 after their shifts, but they conceded they did not have the same relationship with workers there.