News Release

Did Amazon Shred the Law to Stop Worker Unionization?

PAUL GOTTINGER, paul.gottinger@gmail.com@PaulGottinger
Gottinger is a staff reporter at Reader Supported News which just published his piece: “How Much Did Amazon Spend to Crush the Union Drive in Alabama?” He writes: “Last week, Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted against forming a union after an almost two-month-long election that received significant national attention. The vote was 738 in favor of a union to 1,798 against it.

“But this isn’t over yet.

“The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is challenging the election with the National Labor Relations Board over what the union describes as Amazon’s illegal interference in the election. The union alleges that Amazon put a ballot dropbox on warehouse property after the NLRB told Amazon that wasn’t allowed because it could be seen as an attempt to intimidate workers. The union will ask for a second election, claiming the last one was spoiled by Amazon’s illegal practices. …

“Amazon faces dozens of federal allegations from its facilities across the country for firing workers who organized protests and walk-outs demanding the company improve its COVID-19 safety best practices. Amazon employees at multiple facilities report fear of being open about their support for a union at work because they might be fired or harassed.

“Since February of 2020, there have been at least 37 charges filed with the NLRB against Amazon in 20 cities across the country.

“One tactic Amazon used to its advantage against the union campaigners was engineering extremely high turnover in Amazon facilities (averaging about 100 new employees a week). This meant union organizers constantly had to convince new employees of the merits of the union, while losing union-supporting employees. …

“In one particularly disturbing account, an Amazon employee named Jonathon Bailey, who organized a walkout over Covid-19 safety concerns, alleges he was ‘detained’ on his lunch break by an individual wearing a black camouflage vest who identified himself as former FBI. …

“Corporations spend $340 million per year on ‘union avoidance’ consultants in an attempt to deny workers their right to organize.

“Until the laws in the U.S. change to force corporations to be more transparent about their anti-union funding and tactics, and put strict limits on what they can do, organized labor will continue to face a tough road ahead.”