This would be a good hesitation, but it looks like Amazon will soon have to sit at the negotiating table. Employees of a distribution center in New York voted 55 percent to form a union.
America’s second largest employer, employing nearly a million people, has so far been completely “non-union” and has done everything it can to keep it that way. It has spent millions on anti-union counselors, aiding and abetting campaigns to mobilize staff. At a distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama, last year’s campaign to form a union failed. Amazon threatened that working conditions could worsen if a union was formed. In the end, more than half of the employees voted against it – although some legal issues remain.
Such elections are necessary to form a union because they have a slightly different status in the United States than in the Netherlands. In the United States, for example, no collective agreements have been established that apply to the entire sector, and the unions negotiate only on behalf of their own members. They are often organized at the level of an organizational location. If more than half of the employees in such a place vote in favor of forming a union, the company is legally obliged to give the union a say in negotiations on pay and working conditions – much like a working group in the Netherlands.
Amazon has announced legal action
The robbery is not yet complete for employees, as Amazon has already announced legal action. The company said it was “disappointed” because we believe it is best for our employees to have a direct relationship with the company.
However, the election results are an inspiration to all unions in the United States that have been struggling with declining membership for decades. In recent times, a cautious reversal seems to be emerging. Many locations in the Starbucks coffee chain were able to form a union. Strikes are very common. Workers feel more powerful due to the large labor shortage in the United States and may place more demands. More and more Americans are resigning in search of better working conditions. The event has already been called the ‘big resignation’. More than four million Americans have recently changed jobs every month.
Amazon has long been the best gift among union activists. “There is already a wave of activity, which will encourage further action,” Dan Cornfield, a professional sociologist at the University of Vanderbilt, told Reuters news agency.
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