This nonfiction is dedicated to AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who passed distant Thursday of a bosom attack.
Amazon being the nation’s second-largest employer, many regarded its Bessemer, Alabama plant employees’ effort to unionize successful April a watershed moment.
Yet, the results were disappointingly predictable: workers voted 2-1 against forming a union.
Or did they?
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), the auspices nether which Amazon‘s national would lie, should unionization occur, states earlier this twelvemonth the net retail elephantine illegally threatened to trim unit benefits and compromised the election’s integrity by placing a unafraid ballot postulation container extracurricular the warehouse within show of warehouse cameras, starring voters to judge they were nether surveillance, a U.S. labour instrumentality violation.
NLRB hearing serviceman Kerstin Meyers explained:
“It is wide that the sole crushed the Employer sought to person a mailbox installed was the anticipation that the Acting Regional Director would bid a message ballot election.”
Amazon absorption besides disseminated “vote no” propaganda among elder staff.
An NLRB determination manager volition determine successful the coming weeks whether to bid the re-vote based connected the board’s recommendation.
As past shows, affluent corporations person vested interests successful maintaining their fiefdoms wherever employees are wholly subservient to undemocratic policies, practices, and conditions.
Amazon employees are integral to that American struggle.
Bessemer warehouse employees, galore of whom kick of “grueling” 14-hour workdays with lone 2 30-minute breaks, privation Amazon to spend much interruption time.
Complaints about not permitting bath breaks abound.
Workers consciousness Amazon betrayed them for not providing amended extortion from the Covid-19 pandemic.
As immoderate different multi-national corp terrified of democracy, Amazon retaliated against the unionization effort with $10,000-per-day anti-union measures, including contracting with 1 of the largest and astir expensive union-avoidance instrumentality firms, anti-labor consultants, and law enforcement to intimidate workers, national advocates, and the press.
Amazon laminitis and erstwhile CEO Jeff Bezos’ nett worthy accrued nearly $65 billion the past twelvemonth during the pandemic.
With a nett worthy of $209.2 billion, Forbes magazine lists him arsenic the richest idiosyncratic successful the world.
Bezos (who besides owns Whole Foods and the Washington Post) is 1 of 2 billionaires whose wealth grew an mean of $42 cardinal each week—$7.4 cardinal each hour–the pandemic bared down connected us, more than $700 billion total since past March.
While helium and Amazon absorption sabotage their workers’ unionization efforts for amended conditions and pay, Bezos made headlines past period erstwhile he launched himself into space successful his rocket “Blue Origin,” for which Mass. Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted:
The richest feline connected Earth tin motorboat himself into abstraction portion implicit fractional the state lives paycheck to paycheck, astir 43 cardinal are saddled with pupil debt, and kid attraction costs unit millions retired of work. He tin spend to transportation successful truthful everyone other gets a chance.
Jeff Bezos volition inactive beryllium the richest idiosyncratic successful the satellite adjacent if his employees unionize.
It’s not astir money.
It’s ne'er astir money.
It is and has ever been astir power.
Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His enactment has been featured successful myriad literate journals, including Better Than Starbucks, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, & Third Wednesday. He is besides a contributor to The Left Place blog connected Substack, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.