A look at life in the Amazon
ON FRIDAY, word came across the wires that Amazon employees at the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse voted not to unionize. The press dubbed it a “giant victory” for the tech giant, even though the warehouse employs less than 1 percent of the 950,000-some-odd Amazon employees in the United States.
But the victory for the company over the union bosses shows that most working Americans don’t think part of their paychecks should go to union offices/bosses/perks. Apparently they’d rather keep the money themselves, and benefit by the success of their employer. Some of the people at the warehouse told the press exactly that.
If the union organizers had been successful, it would have been the first union shop for Amazon. Even the president of the United States—a long-time union man—weighed in. But as the National Labor Relations Board and certain newspapers kept up with the vote during the day, a union shop was turned away.
This being America, there will be appeals and maybe even a lawsuit or six. But, as a president named Barack Obama once said, elections have consequences.
Union organizers pulled out all the stops, as you knew they would. They found employees who complained about the physical demands of their jobs. They found employees who complained about break times. They compared the wealth of Jeff Bezos to those of hourly workers, as if that had anything to do with the question at hand.
But workers know that the company offers nice benefits, including generous health-care insurance—and it pays double the minimum wage.
What makes this national news, and not just regional news for ‘Bama, is that the president decided to get involved. President Biden put a video on his White House Twitter account aimed at Amazon and this union vote, saying every worker should have a “free and fair choice to join a union.”
And they did in Alabama. They just decided to vote no.
Evidently, the employees at that Amazon warehouse give more credibility to their employer than to the president of the United States. It isn’t just a loss for union bosses, but for Joe Biden, and serves as an example why politicians in high positions shouldn’t get involved with such company matters for individual businesses, no matter how big, or how many people they employ.
Doubtless union bosses will complain in their appeals that supervisors or department heads at Amazon tried to influence the ballot, or tried to intimidate their opposition, or tried to use their positions and power to shape the vote. But for the best example of such use of clout, we refer you to the White House Twitter account.