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Signature drive underway to unionize workers at Amazon plant in Campbellsville

Matt Littrell is attempting to organize workers at Amazon's fulfillment center in Campbellsville.
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Matt Littrell is attempting to organize workers at Amazon's fulfillment center in Campbellsville.

A movement is underway to unionize the first Amazon warehouse in Kentucky, and only the second in the nation.

Employees at the Campbellsville fulfillment center are organizing to hold a vote later this year.

Some Amazon workers say the company is slow to respond to complaints about workplace conditions. Organizing Committee Chairman Matt Littrell says the heat inside the warehouse has been an ongoing issue this summer.

“One day they’ll tell you the ventilation is fine. It doesn’t get above 75 degrees in this warehouse. Then they’ll say we’re working on getting fans there," Littrell told WKU Public Radio. "They make all of these promises they don’t keep.”

Other employees want the world’s largest online retailer to increase pay to compensate for inflation. Still, many Amazon workers are reluctant to speak against the company out of fear it will leave Campbellsville. Amazon replaced Taylor County’s largest employer, Fruit of the Loom, when that plant shuttered in the late 1990s.

Amazon representative Andre Woodson
J. Tyler Franklin | WFPL
Amazon representative Andre Woodson

“Our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have. As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees," said Amazon spokesperson Andre Woodson in a statement to WKU Public Radio. "Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”

Matt Littrell, who works as a picker, says he’s in the process of collecting the required number signatures from the 800 employees eligible to cast a union vote at the Taylor County facility. Thirty percent of the workforce must sign authorization cards before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will schedule a vote.

If enough signatures are collected, a vote will likely occur in the next few months. If the vote is successful, Campbellsville workers would become the first local chapter of Amazon Labor Union (ALU) outside of Staten Island. The union is led by Christian Smalls who claims he was fired from the New York facility in 2020 after complaining about the lack of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.