a union is born at Amazon in the United States

This is a first that Amazon doesn’t like. The employees of the logistics platform JFK8, the largest in New York, voted to create the first union in the company’s history, with 2,654 votes “for” against 2,131 (out of 8,300 registered).

The elections were held from 25 to 30 March and the results were announced on 1 April. So far, the American giant had managed to prevent all attempts. He has also officially declared himself “disappointed” of the result of the vote, because it “believes that a direct relationship with the company is best for employees”

Intense Amazon lobbying
According to TechCrunch, Amazon spent $4.3 million in 2021 alone to counter union initiatives. For example, the company instructed a consulting firm to bar New York workers from voting to form the union, CNBC revealed. During the election campaign, Amazon is said to have held mandatory meetings to explain to employees that it was in their best interests to vote against the creation of a union. “Amazon Union Wants to Talk” for you. we want to talk of you”argues, for example, the website the company created for the occasion.

“We are considering our options, including to appeal the NLRB’s undue and unwarranted influence. (National Labor Relations Board, the body responsible for organizing the vote) that we and others (including the National Federation of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce) have seen during this election process”Amazon said in a statement.

The pandemic, a trigger for the struggle
The ALU is an independent union founded by a former JFK8 manager, Christian Smalls, who was fired in March 2020 for not respecting Amazon’s social distancing measures amid the Covid-19 crisis: he had organized a strike at the inside this warehouse on Staten Islands, precisely to demand more safety for employees during the health crisis, and more specifically the closure of the platform for two weeks.

In February 2022, he was arrested and charged with entering the premises without permission. He defends himself by explaining that he was just bringing food to his former colleagues. The pandemic has revived union ambitions within the e-commerce giant. The last poll to date, in Delaware, dates back to 2014, CNBC recalled.

The ALU is campaigning to cut production, raise salaries and increase the number of paid vacation days. the New York Timeswho had researched the logistics platform JFK8, talks about: “culture of fear” created by a “intensive productivity monitoring”† Amazon is regularly singled out for the working conditions in its logistics centers, undermining its employer branding efforts. Indeed, the company is quite well placed in terms of wages and benefits. For example, at $15 an hour, she reaches the minimum wage that US President Joe Biden would like to see.

Voting in Alabama
The ALU campaign did not receive support from national labor organizations, but this is not the case in Alabama, which has again held elections whose results are yet to be announced due to tight results. There, in April 2021, the employees had tried to join a national union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The NLRB found that the conditions for an anonymous vote had not been met and had requested a second vote, which took place in late March.

According to the RWDSU, “Amazon workers have unnecessarily long and aggressively resisted unions, with Amazon doing all it can to spread misinformation and lies”† Bessemer employees in Alabama have received support from Bernie Sanders. A White House spokeswoman, for his part, indicated that Joe Biden was satisfied with the result achieved in New York.

2nd largest employer in the United States
According to the US press, the independent nature of the ALU is undoubtedly a factor in the success of its election, in a context where the union rate fell to 10.3% in 2021 (6.1% in the private sector), an all-time low. The press draws a parallel with the situation at Starbucks, where spontaneous movements have spread throughout the company.

The situation at Amazon is under scrutiny as the Seattle company is the second largest employer in the United States with 1.1 million employees, after Walmart.

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