In 2021, Amazon is poised to meet a renewed challenge from groups it has long faced: unions.
Powered by protests at Amazon Taking over US warehouses and more labor-friendly governance responsibilities, unions are campaigning at the world’s largest online retailer to see if its warehouse or grocery workers want to join their ranks.
Expect a bigger test when workers in a warehouse decide whether or not to consolidate early next year. The company has not faced union elections in the United States since 2014 and will be the first to vote “yes” to the US Amazon facility.
Amazon, America’s second largest private owner Walmart, Which has already informed workers that wages and benefits are being promised by unions and trained managers to identify managerial activities. Its operating company in France presents an escape picture: strong unions there closed its warehouses for months this year.
The upcoming vote is for colleagues at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer, Alabama; They weigh in on whether or not to join the retail, wholesale and department store union (RWDSU). The organizing committee launched a social media campaign, shared union authorization cards and collected enough to hold elections.
This week and last, RWDSU and Amazon discussed the terms of the election. As of Tuesday they had agreed to include seasonal workers in the bargaining department, as well as process assistants, as the union questioned for their supervisory authority over election hearings chaired by the Government Labor Board. That board will determine the date of the election.
The bargaining unit size is large – now estimated to be over 5,700 – the union needs more votes to win.
In a statement, Amazon said, “We do not believe this group represents the majority of our employee views. Our employees choose to work at Amazon because we offer some of the best jobs available everywhere we hire.” The average wage in the Bessemer facility is 30 15.30 (approximately Rs. 1,100) per hour, and jobs come with health and retirement benefits.
Preliminary shows that RWDSU is facing an uphill battle. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in January that union membership had fallen from 20 percent in 1983 to 10 percent of the qualified workforce in 2019.
Employees at the Alabama facility did not respond to requests for interviews.
Amazon workers are operating elsewhere. Alexander Koleas, cashier for Amazon’s subsidiary Full Foods, said the pandemic had endangered workers’ health and management had allayed the concerns of others.
“We are definitely in favor of the union,” he said of his Whole Foods store in Portland. “If we have a vote today, I think it will pass.”
Courtney Brown, a process assistant at Amazon’s warehouse in New Jersey, said work in her building had increased 10-fold during the epidemic and that colleagues had fallen ill. So she started distributing through work related petitions Facebook.
“We need to be able to have a voice,” Brown, 30, said, adding that she was neutral about the impact a union would have on its comfort.
Reuters was introduced to both Brown and Collios by pro-labor groups campaigning on Amazon. One of them is the Whole Worker, a team of current and former Whole Foods staff to manage the grocery chain.
Katie Dawn, one of the group’s directors, said its strategy is to focus on & teach and action in half a dozen wholesale stores, including Vavatosa in Portland and Wisconsin, where the majority of staff are already supported.
“We’re focused on the small stores here and there that are fully integrated, without fail nationally,” said Don, who worked for Whole Foods in California until the beginning of this year.
Similarly, representatives of United Food and Commercial Workers International reached out to Whole Foods staff to discuss union, accident pay and other issues, according to interviews and transcripts of communication shared with Reuters.
Seattle-area unions are meeting with Amazon tech workers, their coalition leader said. According to a public record obtained by Reuters, a local man is helping corporate whistleblowers who opened fire on Amazon for violating U.S. labor law. Amazon said it would support workers’ right to criticize the company, but said the employees in question violated internal policies.
Labor advocates say it is a presidential administration Joe Biden Ready to assist union efforts, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board underestimates corporate interests and supports the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
That bill passed the U.S. House in February and adds penalties to companies that obstruct maintenance; Senate approval is far from guaranteed. Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDSU, which has the Mid-South Council behind Alabama Union Drive, said.
“With the change in governance, Amazon workers will have a better chance of coming together,” he said.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
The MacBook Air M1 is the portable beast of the laptop you’ve always wanted? We discussed this Orbit, Our weekly technology podcast, you can subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Or RSS, Download the episode, Or press the Play button below.