back to article Amazon claims victory after warehouse workers in Alabama vote to reject union

Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted against unionization, according to results announced on Friday. The battle waged by pro-union workers, represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), was regarded as a crucial first step for fighting against working conditions at Amazon’s so-called …

  1. raving angry loony

    Dirty tricks work.

    Bezos knows all about dirty tricks working for the benefit of his corporation. But the US legislation (written by corporations and passed by bought-and-paid-for legislators) is growing more and more anti-union, so the courts might not see it that way of course.

  2. HildyJ Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sad but not surprising

    Two things to keep in mind as we await the details of the objections that will be filed with the NLRB.

    First, union blocking and busting are rife throughout American businesses and are rarely punished in a meaningful way.

    Second, there is a large anti union sentiment among workers in the South. Many view unions as agents of the Democrats, run by Northern liberals.

    1. oiseau Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Sad but not surprising

      ... view unions as agents of the Democrats, run by Northern liberals.

      Right ...

      Ignorant DHs.

      They just prefer getting screwed over and over by Amazon.

      Because if it's done by Republicans ie: Conservatively and with a blessing, then it's quite allright.

      Sad state of affairs.

      O.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: Sad but not surprising

        "They tuk ur jobbs." should be ringing out from the crowds anytime soon.

  3. xyz123

    Need to verify what was said in those illegal calls to workers. Did Amazon physically threaten people? this can be done indirectly by saying the names of their family/kids etc....

  4. aerogems

    If that is what they wanted

    If that is what they really wanted, so be it, but Amazon was basically violating the NLRA Section 7 left, right, center and every other conceivable direction, so it's kind of hard to tell how many people were swayed by "informational" sessions that were mandatory or signs in the bathroom stalls... not that many people likely saw those based on reports of working conditions.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: If that is what they wanted

      In principle, I agree. However, *if* that figure of 16 per cent voting in favour of unionisation is correct, then it seems likely that there wasn't going to be a majority anyway. Even the most successful anti-union campaign isn't going to be that successful unless the people voting were already very suspicious of the proposal anyway.

  5. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Rejoice! Rejoice !

    ... It was also accused of lying about the repercussions, as well as flooding workers with anti-union messages posted at work and in text messages and phone calls to their homes.

    .

    That would certainly make me vote the opposite way they intended.

    .

    .

    Still... the thing about democracy is that you have to accept the Will of the [ voting majority ] of the Peeple is half the time directly opposite to one's own preference --- even if utterly inane and harmful to their interests.

    Just like political elections: when, say, the Conservatives or Old Labour lose, their supporters should not repine however they dislike the voters' choice; but be utterly happy the People made the decision and the result is manifest. Democracy is the Winner even if it leads to nuclear winter.

    I tried to point this out to Democrats when Trump was chosen by the People the first time: didn't really take.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Rejoice! Rejoice !

      Quote:

      "I tried to point this out to Democrats when Trump was chosen by the People the first time: didn't really take."

      Sadly , if you look at the voting figures , trumpy was never 'chosen' by the people as he managed to get 3 million less votes than clinton.

      What he did do was manage to get a small number of voters in a large number of constituances to vote for him, rather than clintons large numbers in a small number of constituances, because as we all know, the US is thoughly gerrymandered.

      Mind you our system of first past the post leaves a lot to be desired...

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Rejoice! Rejoice !

        Trump chose the people who would vote for him, Amazon did the same thing. These days "voting" has become how the bastards in control maintain their control. Look at the US now, the Republicans are busy "fixing" Trumps problems by making it harder for their opponents to vote against him next time.

        These days "democracy" has become a fight that you either win or lose.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Rejoice! Rejoice !

      Based on journalists' interviews with the workforce the 'no' crew tended to think that the union wouldn't give them any immediate benefit in terms of pay andconditions. The union advocates probably didn't help their case by using adversarial terms like 'struggle' on their posters. Amazon itself used a specialist consulting companies - ones that specialize in anti-union campaigns -- to spearhead their effort for the 'no' vote.

      There may be grounds for appealing the result to the NLRB but I think its pointless. I'd let it go and bide my time. Alabama isn't the best place to try to organize, anyway. It has a terrible record for progressive anything and its likely that Amazon's jobs are easily the best in the area (which doesn't say a whole lot about what else is available). Maybe with the next attempt at unionization the union can pitch its true role as an advocate for the workforce that indentifies the workforce's problems and concerns and coordinates with the management to try to iron out issues before they become serious problems.

  6. Stanislav Bonita
    Facepalm

    Turkeys, Christmas

    So turkeys will actually vote for Christmas... good to know.

    1. ToddRundgrensUtopia

      Re: Turkeys, Christmas

      In order not to join a Union, it would appear so

  7. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Why the need for a vote?

    Why was the vote needed anyway? In the uk, if you want to join a union then you just go ahead and do it (I think - never been in a union myself - so please correct me if I’m wrong)

    I’m guessing us laws require a vote? What if the vote passes and an individual didn’t want to join? How does that work?

    1. aks

      Re: Why the need for a vote?

      I'm assuming that anyone can join a union but the company doesn't have to recognise the union as representing anybody. With a positive vote, the company would be obliged to negotiate with the union as representing all of their members.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Why the need for a vote?

      In some US states unions force a 'closed shop', in which you can't work for the company without joining the union.

      It's bad enough working for a company that only negotiates with a union that doesn't represent you, I can't imagine having to actually pay the corrupt shits out of my pay too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why the need for a vote?

        I'm guessing that Alabama, the most Southern of states, has banned 'closed shop' unions anyways. The

        issue is whether the union has some claim to representing the workers.

        https://content.next.westlaw.com/1-617-5644?__lrTS=20201205115327814

        1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

          Re: Why the need for a vote?

          But Biden wants to make closed shops the national standard!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news

    Amazon warehouse Bessemer, Alabama, has decided to improve efficiency by reducing their workforce by 16%.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news

      >Amazon warehouse Bessemer, Alabama, has decided to improve efficiency by reducing their workforce by 16%.

      These are short term jobs - a reduction of 90%+ is much less than a decade away as the warehouses become fully automated.

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: In other news

        And this is the real elephant in the room that nobody is prepared to address.

        If we end up automating vast numbers of jobs so that what remains is essentially anything that is either too expensive or too difficult then what happens to society.

        We are running out of alternative employment for the people impacted by this to actual do anything.

        Then what?

        Currently the very companies that are pushing much of this automation are the ones that are contributing least to society financially with their dubious accounting practices.

        I know that these things have happened in the past but the arguments of "just get a job elsewhere" are going to disappear.

        If the warehouses & delivery are all automated that is an awful lot of people who now have no income. Whilst many will think that they are safe and not impacted this is not the case. We will all be impacted because if Governments are not able to raise the money to support the increasing numbers of jobless everything collapses.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: In other news

          "If the warehouses & delivery are all automated that is an awful lot of people who now have no income. "

          Lest people reading this think they're safe

          WHITE COLLAR jobs are far easier to automate than blue collar ones

          Anything which involves physically moving "stuff" has a higher barrier to automation than moving ideas around

          Automation of whte collar jobs has been going on for decades - when was the last time you saw a room full of acounts clerks?

          It's far more agile than automation of manual labour and it usually pays off faster as white collar workers tend to be paid more than blue collar ones

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: In other news

          @hoola

          "I know that these things have happened in the past but the arguments of "just get a job elsewhere" are going to disappear."

          Before covid in the UK and US there was full employment. There is plenty scope for more jobs as people do want stuff and experiences and whatever.

          "Currently the very companies that are pushing much of this automation are the ones that are contributing least to society financially with their dubious accounting practices."

          Or contributing the most. Look at amazon, often lower prices at a good level of service and decent delivery times. By their existence providing to the people what they want these big companies are contributing.

          "If the warehouses & delivery are all automated that is an awful lot of people who now have no income"

          And vastly more have a better experience/product/price. And those who have no income get income from the state until they go do something else.

          "We will all be impacted because if Governments are not able to raise the money to support the increasing numbers of jobless everything collapses."

          That would probably easily resolved by the gov going on a diet. Slim the excesses and woke crap. Committees for the kind of biscuit to be given to committees and boondoggle projects and people would get more bang for their tax paying buck.

          If gov wants more money they need to provide the environment for more private growth. That is where the money comes from so thats what is needed to gain increased tax income. Not just demanding more for spaffing. If the govs managed to steal everything from the billionaires it would probably last about 5 minutes before they had double spent it all.

  9. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Bessemer

    according to Wikipedia:

    The decline of mining and exodus of the steelmaking and railcar manufacturing industries resulted in extensive loss of jobs. The city has lost population since a peak in 1970. It faced an economic crisis in the early to mid-1980s, as unemployed workers constituted more than one-third of the workforce.

    ...

    Crime increased following the rise in unemployment and social disruption from the decline of manufacturing industries in the area. As of 2019 Bessemer ranks first in terms of violent crimes for US cities with 25,000 or more people.

    Sounds like fertile ground for "divide and conquer".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bessemer

      I could figure out already that a town named "Bessemer" near Birmingham, Alabama was suffering from the loss of steel jobs.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good...

    In my own, wide ranging experience, most unions are corrupt, self-rewarding scams that achieve very little.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Good...

      Yes. Great idea in theory. Not so great in execution.

  11. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    The workers decided they did not want the union and the middle class “class warriors” most of whom are not unionised and are paid much better are trying to tell them that they were wrong.

    Typical.

    1. Falmari Bronze badge
      WTF?

      Who you calling middle class?

      Just because I am employed as a programmer does not mean I am not working class. I must work to live; I am working class.

      I grew up on a council estate, and until I was 30, worked as a fitter welder then went back to college to get a degree. I did not instantly become middle class on receiving a degree and getting a programming job.

      As for trying to tell them that they were wrong I don’t know if it was in the UK I would say they would be better off in a union.

      Yes I am not in a union now as it is not needed good conditions and pay but I was in a union until I went to university.

  12. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

    Yeah, this is the same union that objected to having the vote held by secret ballot! They wanted to know just who voted against them. Yeah, that so free!

    It's Alabama! Unions are not going to get much traction in this Right to Work state!

  13. sketharaman

    Election Fraud!

    Sore loser! Reminds me of somebody else who claimed election fraud after losing!!

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