Why Amazon is afraid of its U.S. workers joining the union

Amazon continues to abuse its warehouse workers, whether in the daily treatment of them, or in its brutal and illegal activities to prevent unionization in the United States.

Author: Sonali Kolhatkar, founder, host and executive producer “Rise with Sonali,” TV and radio programs broadcast on Free Speech TV and Pacifica radio stations, as well as for National economy The project of the Independent Media Institute. Depend on. . .Production National economy, A project of the Independent Media Research Institute

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just ruled that a historic union vote was held among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, earlier this year. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Alliance (RWDSU) is invalid.Widely publicized vote, Occurred within a few weeks of February and March 2021, resulting in Fiasco For unions, more than 70% of voters oppose joining a union.

Stuart Appelbaum, Chairman of RWDSU, Blame Amazon Participated in “Efforts to cheer for their employees” and submitted a copy petition Voting was cancelled in April. After investigating the union’s assertions, the NLRB decided that Amazon blatantly interfered with the voting ability of its workers, so a second election could now be held.

this ruling Explained in detail how, although NLRB rejected Amazon’s request to install mail collection boxes outside the warehouse entrance, the company did so, leaving workers with the impression that it participated in the counting of votes. In addition, the company distributes “no-voting” appliances to workers in the presence of the manager, forcing them to declare support or opposition to the union. Moreover, Amazon and a small group of workers held what the NLRB calls a “captive audience meeting”, “6 days a week, 18 hours a day” to criticize the process during the voting period of approximately 6,000 employees who are eligible to vote through anti-union information.

NLRB Regional Director, Lisa HendersonThe decision to vote for the second time condemned Amazon for “blatantly ignoring” to ensure a free and fair election, and stated that the company “essentially hijacked the process and gave a strong impression that it controlled the process.”

No wonder the election turnout was so low that only about 12% of eligible voters voted to join the union.

The NLRB is expected to decide to allow a second vote, and the company has begun to pave the way for intervention again.According to a Reuters The report in early November stated that “Amazon has increased its activities in the warehouse, forcing thousands of employees to attend meetings, posting signs criticizing labor groups in bathrooms, and flying employees from the West Coast.”

One of the world’s largest employers has actively and repeatedly boycotted efforts to establish a union in a warehouse in the United States, which shows that Amazon is absolutely determined to refuse workers’ opinions on their working conditions. Company spokesperson Kelly Nantel stated that workers do not need unions because they benefit from “Direct relationship“With their employers-considering the power imbalance between this behemoth retailer and any of its nearly 1 million American employees, this is a ridiculous idea.

The company invested so much in maintaining a union-free workplace that the NLRB determined that Amazon Illegal dismissal of two employees Last year, they were agitating against their unfair labor practices.

Amazon chose to react so positively to the unionization efforts in the United States for obvious reasons.its European workers join unions And actively demand better wages and working conditions.For example, in Germany, unionized Amazon workers Quit your job for a higher salary November is the peak holiday shopping season.Last year, Italian workers Went on strike for 11 days In view of the pandemic, earn an extra five-minute break to ensure good hygiene. And, in the spring of 2020, the French labor union asked Amazon to suspend all activities in its warehouses in the first few months of the pandemic to ensure the safety of workers.A sort of French court makes a favorable ruling, Said the company had to suspend the delivery of all non-essential goods.

In addition, union leaders and union workers from various European countries began to cooperate with each other last year Business insider Call for efforts to “exchange notes… on how to put pressure on retail giants to improve their working conditions.”

This type of EU activity and cross-border worker solidarity is exactly the type of scenario that Amazon does not want to see replicated in the United States.

When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Responded In April, Bessemer voted that he will ensure that his company becomes “the best employer on earth and the safest place to work on earth”, which RWDSU regards as Admission Amazon has indeed been abusing its employees.

In fact, there have been many studies detailing abuse.one survey “The New York Times” found in Amazon’s warehouse in Staten Island, New York earlier this year that the company has a very high rate of employee turnover. The paper also found that although managers pay close attention to almost every conceivable aspect of employee work speed, efficiency, and productivity, it is clear that there are very few employee health records (if any), including COVID-19 infections.

While Bessemer warehouse workers were bombarded by anti-union propaganda, the company was actually using Record profit Greater reliance on online shopping during the pandemic. Compared with the same period last year, profit in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 220%.

The NLRB’s ruling on the re-voting of the Bessemer warehouse comes as American workers are increasingly intolerant of poor working conditions and low wages.A wave Strikes and mass resignations this fallAlso have Affected Amazon’s capabilities Hire more workers. Now, in addition to RWDSU, International Brotherhood of Truckers Vowed to participate in the organization work against Amazon and passed a historic Resolution This summer, in response to “how Amazon poses an existential threat to the rights and standards our members have won and won.”

Despite this, Amazon’s active efforts to maintain union-free operations in the United States continue to bear fruit.In addition to rolling out more anti-union efforts before its Bessemer warehouse holds a second vote, Amazon appears to have defeated another union effort-in Staten Island Warehouse The New York Times investigated this. Just two weeks before the NLRB held a hearing on whether there was enough interest in forming a union there, the workers mysteriously withdrew their petition.

A sort of Reuters Research The 20-year wage data of the retail industry found that compared with non-union workers, unionized workers have a clear and growing advantage. The weekly wage gap between the two groups increased from US$20 in 2013 to US$50 in 2019 . The outlet explained, “Unionized workers tend to work longer hours per week and have predictable schedules, while non-union workers usually have a’variable schedule’, depending on how busy the store is perceived by the management. In other words, the rights of non-union workers are subordinate to the well-being of the company.

Perhaps this is what Nantel calls the benefits of establishing a “direct relationship” with workers. However, she claims that this relationship is in the interests of workers, and in fact, it is in their interests that employers like Amazon do not have the collective power to fight with them.

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