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The Amazon Labor Union beat a behemoth — can it keep winning?

Today, staff at Amazon’s LDJ5 warehouse will vote to co-organize with the Amazon Workers’ Union (ALU), the same organization that achieved a historic victory at another Staten Island, New York, facility earlier this month. With the vote set for May 2, the election will last only one week. After a few months, the staff had only a week left to find out if their site would be reunited – assuming there was no court of law similar to the one that raised the second vote. ee Bessemer.

The ALU is booming after the JFK8 election, and it is fair to say that there is momentum on the part of the organizers. But the loss of Bessemer’s first choice is still new, and stocks are high. The results of this selection may set the tone for future elections at Amazon Centers. After JFK8, the ALU said it was heard from staff at dozens of other warehousesindicating that there is a possibility of widespread unity one of the largest employers in the United States. But first, the organization must prove it can continue to be successful.

The campaign was not easy. Amazon is still competing for the organisation’s previous success and has doubled its anti-union message, he said the report vice. The company has reportedly stepped up its campaign to get rid of the logo and literature campaigning for the organization and blamed its advertising staff. (The National Labor Liaison Committee, a legal watchdog, has accused the company of behaving in a similar manner to other union activities.) The company also reportedly strengthened audience meetings.

The main advantage of the ALU is the structure of the organization itself, which is made up entirely of Staten Island employees. Dan Cornfield, a professor at Vanderbilt University, says the fact may only cover many of the toughest tactics against the organization. “As is the norm in the United States, as in the case of Bessemer, the common denominator in anti-unionism is to drive the conflict between the union and the union. They present the union to a third party,” he said. said the interviewer. “That is impossible to do in small, small, independent, unions-led unions because they are the union and the union is the same.”

At the same time, Amazon is cost millions of dollars Union anti-union counselors, who are tasked with coming up with effective ways to protect employees from wanting to join a union. According to viceOne of the busters of the organization is Rebecca Smith, whose network boasts a proven track record of “employee / employee communication, HR computing, training, and workforce strategies.”

In an interview on an earlier story, ALU organizer Gerald Bryson said that there are actually employees who are not interested in organizing. “I spoke to a man one day, and he came out and said, ‘Well, you don’t need a union,'” Bryson said, describing how the man further explained that he enjoyed physical work. “I just let him go. You cannot beat a dead horse.

Maury Peiperl, president of the College of Business at George Mason University, also noted that not everyone who works at Amazon feels the same way, reiterating Bryson’s sentiment that some of the company’s employees are happy to get a job. “I think Amazon is very effective in doing a lot of things, including how it tries to support its employees,” Peiperl said, although he acknowledged that the company needs to listen carefully. those employees. Any employer who does not see and do not understand where the workers are coming from and what the world looks like where they sit will not succeed in the long run.

There are other factors that can contribute to the development of ALU opportunities even though the reality is, as Cornfield points out, it is a “poor genius” organization against a large corporation. One is the political and public support, which can be a motivation for workers to weigh in on their decision to join a union.

The organization has the support of many politicians. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke in support of the organization During a live broadcast on the workplace organization, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson (between the jabs of Alexandria agent Ocasio-Cortez) said Amazon should share some of its capabilities with its staff during . interview with ALU organizer Christian Smalls. Perhaps most importantly, President Joe Biden Amazon warning that the federal government is pursuing its anti-union policy.

“It seems to me that Amazon should be concerned about its public image, and that being seen as anti-union and anti-union at this time in history is likely to be viewed negatively,” Benjamin Sachs said. , a working professor. and industry Harvard Law School, interview Qarka. According to Sachs, public support and policy makers are a factor in the ALU’s approval.

“I think President Biden’s support is important. I think the visible support of the National Labor Relations Commission to legislate,” Sachs said. “Widespread public support really contributes in many ways. It helps to inspire employees who decide to support the organization, knowing that the country is really behind them.”

Cornfield also noted that public support for organizations has increased significantly over the past decade or so. “According to various polls out there, in particular the Gallup poll shows that in the United States, public approval of trade unions generally jumped from 48 percent in 2009 to 68 percent in 2021.”

Despite public support for trade unions, they are becoming increasingly commonplace in the United States. earlier this year, The Bureau of Labor Statistics said (pdf) that the percentage of union employees has been declining over the past few years, and that only 10.3 per cent of employees are union members. Union elections are not always successful, either; Last year in Bessemer, Alabama, workers voted against a 2 to 1 union, although the result was later overturned by the NLRB. And while the ALU won the JFK8, it was not close to exploding; The vote was 2,654 against the union while 2,131 opposed it.

Peiperl believes that general social conditions can make people more interested in organizations. “I think it’s about this situation, the context of Amazon’s staff, and really the whole community, especially the younger generation, is finding themselves,” he said. “There is a recurrence of the situation 100 years ago where a lot of wealth is concentrated in several people, there are a certain number of large companies and perhaps alone in power in many sectors, and therefore less power than that. in the hands of the staff. “

But while private sector employees may feel powerless, Peiperl says they have some advantage over joint ventures, given their importance to the company’s logistics operations. “In order for it to remain operational, it needs all the components to work well together differently, say Starbucks, which is geographically dispersed,” he said. (Starbucks staff organized wave of successful organizational elections Over the last few months Whereas if the Amazon warehouse or logistics route is closed that is a big deal, it will be a major obstacle to the performance of that company.

Although the union is not in an unrecognized territory – it has been shown at least once that its tactics work in New York, where LDJ5 and JFK8 are located – there is an open question about whether the results should be used. can predict success in the rest of the country. , especially in non-friendly areas of the organization. LDJ5 is probably similar to JFK8 in culture; both centers are literally neighbors to each other and they are part of a group of four warehouses, all of which were organized at the same time. Last year the union planned to hold a one-off election at all the centers but withdrew the application to get enough people interested in the specific centers.

This does not mean that the success of the LDJ5 will not help the ALU. Efficiency can be a powerful factor when it comes to merging a company or stimulating a nationwide union movement. As Sachs put it: “Think of the car industry in the 1930s. That was the kind of bellwether industry at that time, which was a symbol of what would be a modern economy. There was a fierce battle to unite cars, and it was “And the result is that the US economy has changed. If you had to choose employers in 2022, Amazon and Starbucks would be good choices.”