The most closely watched union election in recent history is underway in Alabama, where about 6,000 activists A. Amazon Godown nearby Birmingham Voting on whether they want to form a union or not. Have a choice Attracted attention From President Biden, NFL players and Hollywood actors, it is a high test of whether the union has a role in one of the nation’s largest employers.
The union effort, which began last summer, is the largest and most viable organizing campaign among Amazon workers in the United States. Here you need to know about it.
Who are the activists behind this?
The unionization push came largely from a group of black workers Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer, Ala., Which is outside Birmingham. Last summer, he approached a local branch of the retail, wholesale and department store union, which has grown in the south, particularly in poultry, an industry with traditionally dangerous jobs and many black employees.
The union deployed organizers who worked in nearby warehouses and poultry farms and gave full time to talk to workers at Amazon’s warehouse. By the end of December, more than 2,000 activists had signed the card, indicating they wanted the election. The National Labor Relations Board determined that those signatures indicated a “substantial” interest in holding one vote.
Why is this happening now?
Two large forces have helped drive unionization efforts: the epidemic focus on essential workers and the racial reforms brought about by the opposition to black life matter.
Amazon opened the Bessemer warehouse in March 2020, holding Coronovirus in the US by the way. The epidemic clarified the workforce needed for a significant role, many of whom were Black and paid hourly, largely played by serving customers and the economy. Amazon had an extraordinary growth last year, as people turned to online shopping rather than venturing into stores. It went on one Huge hiring spreeFinishing the year with 1.3 million employees and $ 386 billion in sales.
In the early summer, the assassination of George Floyd prompted calls for racial justice, and the union has concentrated its organizing on issues of racial equality and empowerment. The region has a decades-old history of working on civil rights and labor issues. Around the same time, Amazon abolished the extra pay it had previously given to workers in the epidemic. Workers who started organizing said their salary was not low with the risk they took and maintaining productivity.
What is the status of Amazon?
Amazon has said that it does not believe that the union represents the views of most of its workers and that it would disrupt a direct relationship with the company’s employees. Amazon plays its minimum wage of $ 15 per hour, along with benefits such as health care and parental leave. The minimum wage in Alabama is $ 7.25 per hour.
In their communication with workers, through signs contained in bathroom stalls, a website and mailers, Amazon has declared the union dues Workers like school supplies will leave workers with less money to work or in need. It does not mention that in Alabama, the “right to work” state, payment of dues is optional.
How is voting done?
Amazon wanted the vote to be in person, as is typical, but the National Labor Relations Board found that the epidemic made it too risky and ordered a mail-in election. The ballots were mailed to workers in early February and must be signed and received by the Labor Board by March 30, when their counting will be initiated. Because both parties can dispute votes, there is a chance that a final tally cannot be announced a few days or weeks after the counting of votes begins.
The Labor Board will recognize the union if it is in favor of the votes cast by a majority.