Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, lost an attempt to unionise their workplace. This disappointing ballot result is understandable given the vicious anti-union campaign waged by Amazon chiefs, and the political-legal climate in the US which militates against trade unions.
In the ballot, of the more than 3,000 total votes cast, 1,798 voted against, while 738 voted for the union. However, the Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union, challenged 505 votes. The union, moreover, claims that Amazon used tactics that were illegal, to mislead and intimidate workers and is contesting the result.
Amazon, the second largest private employer in the USA, bombarded the workforce with anti-union propaganda, including text messages and leaflets posted on doors inside toilet cubicles! Amazon also held mandatory meetings for workers on company time – “captive-audience sessions” – with videos and anti-union power-point presentations.
However, conditions determine consciousness, and bad working conditions and terms of employment will push workers at some stage, both in Amazon and at other workplaces, to collectively organise.
In recent years there have been successful unionisation drives and strikes, indicating that workers are beginning to fight back against the super-rich corporate bosses. This includes 800 nurses at St Vincent Hospital, Worcester, Massachusetts who are starting their sixth week of strike action against unsafe staffing levels that risk patients’ care and staff health.
- See ‘Historic union battle at Alabama warehouse’ at socialistparty.org.uk