Amazon union vote enters final stretch in watershed moment for U.S. labor

"Amazon is right to be worried." In a statement, Amazon said, "Our employees know the truth—starting wages of $15 or more, health care from day one, and a safe and inclusive workplace.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 30-03-2021 15:33 IST | Created: 30-03-2021 15:30 IST
Amazon union vote enters final stretch in watershed moment for U.S. labor
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

The votes on whether to form a union at Inc's sprawling Alabama fulfillment center are set to be reviewed starting on Tuesday, with momentum for future labor organizing at America's second-largest private employer hanging in the balance.

An agent from the U.S. National Labor Relations Board will sift through ballots sent to more than 5,800 workers at Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama-based warehouse as part of a prolonged process expected to last days and spark legal challenges. Tallying votes might not begin until later this week or next, after both Amazon and the union check the eligibility of ballots cast, said a person familiar with the process. Subsequent procedures and objections could further forestall a certified result, the person said.

Amazon has aggressively discouraged attempts by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) to become the first-ever to organize one of the online retail giant's facilities in the United States. A union victory would leave Amazon, second only to Walmart Inc with more than 800,000 employees nationwide, vulnerable to additional organizing efforts and represent a watershed moment for the U.S. labor movement, said Wilma Liebman, a former NLRB chair during the Obama administration.

"If the union manages to do this, this is really groundbreaking," Liebman said, noting the difficulty of forming unions in southern states, which have laws that discourage workplace organizing. "Amazon is right to be worried." In a statement, Amazon said, "Our employees know the truth—starting wages of $15 or more, health care from day one, and a safe and inclusive workplace. We encouraged all of our employees to vote and hope they did so."

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said: "This campaign has already been a victory in many ways. Even though we don't know how the vote will turn out, we believe we have opened the door to more organizing around the country." The union drive has drawn significant attention from elected officials in Washington. U.S. President Joe Biden at the end of February defended workers' rights to form unions free from intimidation and pointed to voting in Alabama while not specifically mentioning Amazon.

A congressional delegation visited Bessemer earlier in March and Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Democrat, descended on the area Friday to hold a rally with workers and support the organizing push. Amazon has mounted its own campaign, sending text messages urging current and also former workers to vote against forming a union and telling them that they might sacrifice certain benefits if the push succeeds, a notion the union has disputed.

A vote-count battle between Amazon and the union may ensue over the validity of former employees' ballots, Reuters previously reported. Dave Clark, chief executive of Amazon's consumer division, last week railed against Sanders on Twitter ahead of the visit, questioning the senator's progressive bona fides while juxtaposing the e-commerce company's $15 starting wage with a figure of $11.75 in Vermont.

"So if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring," Clark tweeted. Sanders, responding on Twitter, questioned why so much money has been spent to discourage union organizing for better pay, conditions, and benefits.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Blockchain in Healthcare: Opportunities and challenges

The use of blockchain in healthcare is a relatively new innovation with many of its uses still being explored and related technologies being developed, improved, and scaled. ...

Debate surrounding vaccine passports and development misses bigger picture

... ...

Blockchain vs IOTA: Looking for a better alternative

... ...

For stability, Iraq needs to crack down on corruption

... ...


Latest News

Police: Maryland man killed 3 neighbors, set house ablaze

A Maryland man who neighbors said had a long history of aggression went on a rampage over the weekend, shooting or stabbing three people to death and setting his home on fire before responding officers fatally shot him, police said Sunday.A...

Motor racing-Wolff's message to race control signals new move for F1

Formula One broke new ground on Sunday when a radio message from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to race control during the Spanish Grand Prix was broadcast to television audiences. Wolff addressed race director Michael Masi directly when Haass Ru...

Seven dead, including suspect, in shooting at Colorado birthday party, but children spared

A man shot six people to death, including his girlfriend, before fatally shooting himself at a birthday party in Colorado Springs, Colorado, early on Sunday, sparing the children present inside a trailer at a mobile home park, officials sai...

Soccer-Premier League talking points

Talking Points from the Premier League weekendHAVE CHELSEA GAINED A PSYCHOLOGICAL EDGE Chelseas 2-1 victory over Manchester City made sure Citys title celebrations remained on hold but perhaps more importantly sent out a message to Pep Guar...

Give Feedback