Union busting

This is very bad news: Amazon succeeded in blocking the union.

Workers at the Bessemer, Alabama warehouse voted 1,798 to 738 against the effort, labour officials said.

That represented a majority of votes cast in the contest, which was seen as a key test for Amazon after global criticism of its treatment of workers during the pandemic.

The union said it would challenge the results.

It accused Amazon of interfering with the right of employees to vote in a “free and fair election”, including by lying to staff about the implications of the vote in mandatory staff meetings and pushing the postal service to install a mailbox on company grounds in an effort to monitor the vote.

“Amazon has left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which organised the effort.

We live in corporate America. Amazon is one of the biggest regions in corporate America.

If successful, the union drive would have meant that Amazon, the second largest employer in the US, would have had to negotiate a contract with union officials on issues such as work rules and pay.

And now they don’t. Work rules will continue to suck.

Rebecca Givan, professor of labour studies at Rutgers University, said she was not surprised by Amazon won the battle, given the outsize power employers have to fight union efforts under current US law.

“Employers have a huge advantage in these situations,” she said. “They have almost unlimited money and almost unlimited access to the workers to bombard them with messages of anxiety and uncertainty and we see the result of that here.”

Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union, a global federation of unions, said Amazon’s conduct during the campaign showed that US labour law was “broken”.

But we can all bask in the reflected light of Jeff Bezos’s billions, yeah?

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