How Amazon Won the Preliminary Union Vote in Alabama

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Thirty eight voted in favor of it. Roughly five hundred contested ballots. Were not counted but they would not have changed the outcome. The battle isn't over. The are w d s. She has already announced. It is submitting objections to amazon's conduct to the nlrb. Alleging that amazon interfered with the right of its bessemer. Bama employees vote in a free and fair election the regional. Nlrb will investigate the claims decide whether they require a hearing. Neither party could then still file an appeal with the national. Nlrb office spurring protracted battle that might not produce a definitive outcome for months. But whatever the ultimate result the large number of workers who voted against unionizing in the initial count signifies the sheer power and resources that amazon can leverage to win labor paddles and the relatively low risk large companies face in pushing the boundaries in these fights while more than three thousand workers signed cards indicating support for the are wd su representing them. Last fall amazon spent months unleashing a slew of controversial tactics that some labor activists argue were designed to suppress union support before the seven week voting period began an unknown number of those three thousand plus employees who indicated initial support have since left the company the downward trend and support for the union between the petitioning stage and the actual vote. Count is common. In union fights against powerful companies says mark guest pierce visiting professor and executive director of the workers rights institute at georgetown university law center and former chair of the national labor relations board under the obama administration oftentimes unions start out with a majority of support he says and then when the employer starts working over the employees you have a loss of support either through coercion or through fear or other means whether amazon did coerce. Employees is for the nfl rb to decide but the company has enormous power at its disposal to fight against unionization. It is one of the world's largest publicly traded companies was founded by the world's richest man. Jeff bezos and boasts a one point seven trillion dollar market cap and the run up to the unionisation voting period. That began in february amazon mandated. Employees attend anti union meetings created a website warning workers about perceived pitfalls of unionizing including the expense of dues that workers and right to work states like alabama are not obligated to pay hung flyers discouraged workers from unionizing around the plant including in the bathroom stalls and according to e mails obtained by the labor movement media group. More perfect union pressured the united states. Postal service which counts amazon s. One of its last customers to install a ballot dropbox outside the plant despite an nl rb ruling that such a setup might imply problematic amount of employer involvement election proceedings in a statement to the washington post. An amazon spokesperson said the mailbox was intended to make it easy for employees to vote and only the us ps at access to it. The argue says some of these tactics violate the national labor relations. Act or in l. r. a. which forbids employers from restraining or coercing employees from engaging in union activity amazon has left no stone unturned. In its efforts to gaslight its own employees we won't let amazon's lies deception and illegal activities go unchallenged. Which is why we are formally. Filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by amazon during the union. Vote are wd issue. President stuart applebaum said in a press release on friday but amazon says it acted within the law and that the vote represents its employees wishes. It's easy to predict. The union will say that amazon won this election because we intimidated employees. But that's not true. The company wrote in a blog. Post on april ninth. Our employees heard far more anti amazon messages. From the union policymakers and media outlets the heard from us the criticism of amazon surrounding the union. Vote comes after a raft of bad public relations for the company including a february settlement with the ftc overcharges it withheld tips from contracted delivery drivers a march change to its app store logo after cellphone users complained it resembled adolf hitler's infamous mustache and april apology. For asserting its employees. Don't pee in bottles when many of its drivers have to do so yet. Amazon maintains a tight grip not just on its employees but on major facets of american life for some americans boycotting amazon and its subsidiaries might mean losing their grocery store whole foods losing their pharmacy pill pack losing access to one of the thousands of websites that use amazon web services to store their data like netflix and of course losing access to millions of products that can arrive at your doorstep via amazon prime and two days or less. You can't escape. The gravitational pull of jeff bezos amazon says. America's read a marketing professor at the wharton school of business who studies how social influence impacts consumer behaviour. We already have basically everything. While workers fighting to unionize and bessemer drew support from prominent national figures like president. Joe biden and vermont senator bernie sanders. Many employees worried organizing a union. Do more harm than god. Amazon already pays its warehouse employees at least fifteen dollars an hour plus full health care vision and dental insurance and fifty percent 401k matches the rate is more than twice the federal minimum wage and it can be especially attractive in alabama the fifth poorest state in the country. The things that amazon already offers are things that most unions have to fight for paid time off vacation. Medical dental vision says jc thompson a process assistant at the who voted against unionizing. We already have basically everything. In my opinion but other bessemer employees felt the work which entails ten hour shifts mandatory overtime and efficiency surveillance warranted more money and power over their working conditions. We work for the richest man in the world and he doesn't wanna pay employees what they deserve. We only get two breaks out of ten eleven hours. Says daryl richardson a bessemer warehouse employees who approached the are wd s. You about unionizing last summer. It's just unfair. The fight richardson initiated will continue but even as the are wd challenges the outcome of the bessemer vote in the absence of stronger enforcement mechanisms for alleged labor law violations it will remain difficult for labor groups to take on companies as large as amazon and win the nfl. Nlrb does not have the authority to levy traditional fines against a company that commits unfair labor practices. The board can order companies to remedy the violation. Such as by reinstating wrongly terminated employees or by posting notices of workers rights under the nfl ra but most large employers can consider the relatively minor punishments. A cost of doing business says pierce democrats in congress are trying to strengthen labor laws the protecting the right to organize or pro act which recently passed. The democratic led house would establish monetary penalties for companies violating labor laws ban employees interference such as mandatory company-sponsored meetings against unionizing during union elections. Meanwhile amazon continues to grow and twenty twenty while millions of americans were losing their jobs to the pandemic induced equity recession the retail giant announced in february that increased its net sales this year by thirty eight percent its net income nearly doubled to increasing from point six billion dollars in two thousand nineteen to twenty one point three billion dollars. The ongoing labor fight in bessemer is unlikely to move the needle in consumer habits in two thousand twenty one either says adam gallinsky a professor of leadership and ethics at the columbia business school. The short term cost for amazon coming across as a jerk during the lead-up vote count. I think it's going to have very little consequence. He says if people in your community think that amazon is problematic but there's nothing close to the cost convenience ratio that amazon offers. I don't think those concerns are going to override it.

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