back to article Amazon warehouse workers in New York to labor watchdog: We want our union vote

On Monday, a group representing workers at Amazon's warehouses on Staten Island, New York, electronically delivered a petition with at least 2,000 signatures to America's National Labor Relations Board in an effort to demonstrate there's enough employee support to hold a vote on whether to unionize. In an email to The Register …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    No problem

    Amazon won't have that problem here if they fire and rehire on in-scope IR35 contracts, thanks to the world leading union busting legislation.

  2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

    100% of workers have heard about the proposal. 30% (just, scraping the barrel) are in favour. 70% of the workers are apparently actively against. Speaks volumes.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Boffin

      "100% of workers have heard about the proposal. 30% (just, scraping the barrel) are in favour. 70% of the workers are apparently actively against. Speaks volumes."

      Not really. Just because 30% are in favour does not mean 70% are against. Part of that 70% may be scared of losing their jobs for declaring "for". Part of that 70% may be on the fence about the whole thing. Part of the 70% may be completely indifferent to forming a Union. Part of the 70% may not even be aware that a proposal was put forward, or what that proposal entails.

      You have implied a singular set of behaviours from an absence of information. Where is it explicitly stated that 70% of the workforce are "actively against" the proposal?

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        "Where is it explicitly stated that 70% of the workforce are "actively against" the proposal?"

        In the NYT and WaPo pieces I read recently. It's quite clear that Amazon workers don't want to be unionised, there's a huge, real, grassroots campaign against.

        It's impossible anyone working there hasn't heard of the two opposing campaigns.

        I haven't expressed my opinion here. The facts are that there is a vicious fight going on in this case, and that the minority camp is claiming getting 30% to force a vote is a victory.

        1. Kane Silver badge

          "In the NYT and WaPo pieces I read recently."

          Would you mind providing links to these articles, please?

          Also, Washington Post? As owned by Nash Holdings, an LLC established by Bezos to purchase the newspaper?

          No conflict of interest there, eh?

    2. Insert sadsack pun here

      "30% (just, scraping the barrel) are in favour. "

      There's no point in collecting more signatures once you've hit the trigger for a vote, so the union stopped. If 70% if the workforce were really against unionisation, the forthcoming vote will fail miserably (without Amazon nobbling it like they did in Alabama), and no-one has anything to worry about.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        "without Amazon nobbling it like they did in Alabama"

        They didn't 'nobble' anything. There was a massive majority against the plan to unionise. Because that union proposal offered costs to workers to provide... cushy jobs for union officials and nothing else.

        1. Insert sadsack pun here

          You must have skipped over the bit in the article that mentioned...

          "In August, the NLRB concluded that Amazon had interfered with the voting process and recommended that another election be held"

          ...and the linked El Reg article that explained how Amazon had interfered with the NLRB's administration of the vote (by setting up its own anti-union slogan festooned, CCTV-surveilled "drop your vote here" mailbox, and by attempting to interfere with union campaigning on street corners) as well as generally acting like petulant teenage bullies with something to hide (mandatory anti-union training and hiring cops to skulk around the facility).

          I heard that Bezos is trying to build a time machine so be can bring back some of those old school Pinkerton private dicks...

  3. Cederic Silver badge

    union membership must be optional

    Even if a union is voted in by the workforce, employees must be allowed to choose not to join it.

    I hate unions and refuse to give my money to them. I'm entirely with Amazon's public position on this: Employees can, should and already do engage constructively with management.

    All those millions of jobs available in the US, if Amazon's conditions are so bad find a better employer.

    1. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: union membership must be optional

      "Employees can, should and already do engage constructively with management."

      How am I meant to engage constructively with management about eg health and safety concerns at work when a) I've just worked a 12 hour shift and need to take care of my kids, b) I don't have h&so expertise, and c) my line manager isn't allowed to change anything anyway?

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: union membership must be optional

        Agreed; it's not "constructive" when you can't take time during your shift to address actual issues without being reprimanded for not working.

        It's funny (note: not actually funny) that Amazon cares about social distancing to fire a vocal employee when lack of distancing was probably one of the gripes on the list. Such hypocrisy, and in my view it's endemic to every single American corporation and political party (plus the various levels of government, and that kind of hypocrisy is global).

      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: union membership must be optional

        A) You've just had 12 hours to do it...

        B) You don't need it.

        C) Your manager is there to kick it up the chain, and is legally required to do so.

        So, another purported benefit turns out to be nonsense. There's a reason Amazon employees keep voting against these unions. They can see it doesn't offer benefits commensurate with the costs of union dues.

    2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: union membership must be optional

      I would agree about the right to not join one, but the rest of your post is a load of bull.

      It's been demonstrated time and time again that within Amazon any "discussion" around pay, conditions, etc is basically a case of "back to work and if you raise it again you're fired" - if it isn't just "you're fired" as an opening response from the company. There is a MASSIVE disparity in bargaining power between Amazon and the warehouse workers - with Amazon basically able to ditch anyone not prepared to work like a slave, under unreasonable conditions, for a pittance in pay. So having a union with a mandate to negotiate on the workers behalf is unlikely to be anything but a good thing for the workers.

      And without investigating, I would suspect that Amazon have set up shop in places where there isn't too much competition for workers. That's a common tactic - offer jobs where there weren't too many and people will welcome you with open arms. But then they find that the employer is a [insert expletive here] and unfortunately there aren't a lot of other options.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer

    noshit sherlock

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US labour markets

    Incomprehensible

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