The historic referendum on Amazon’s first union in the United States is coming to an end
The referendum to form a union at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, which will become the company’s first of its kind in the United States, ends Monday, after more than five months of ‘David against Goliath’ campaign style. Whatever the verdict of the election is historic by its promoters.
“Our personal relationships are on the brink of disaster, we are exhausted, but I am proud of the Amazon team and advanced workers,” said Joshua Brewer, local chairman of RWDSU, Amazon, which represents the 5,800 employees of the distribution association. Bessemer headquarters if voted in favor of the union.
“Amazon’s worst fears have already occurred: 3,000 employees said we could not work in these conditions,” he added in a statement to AFP.
Since last fall, union members have rested at night at the entrance to this vast, modern campus to collect enough deals in principle (they got 3,000), and then persuade them to form a union. Voting is set to begin on Tuesday.
Results are not expected until at least the weekend, depending on the number of votes (due to patterns such as signatures in the wrong place or the wrong profession).
As for the brewer waiting for legal issues, Amazon will try to delay the matter “in all possible ways”.
“We have to be treated with respect and equality,” says Jennifer Bates, one of the staff involved in the movement. “That means safer working conditions, job stability and better wages.”
Amazon said Monday that the number of RWSDSU union followers has been “declining for two decades, but that is not a reason … to distort the facts.”
“Our employees know the truth: $ 15 an hour or more, health care and safe and inclusive workplaces. We encourage all our employees to vote,” a company spokesman said.
The staff is talking about a different film. When he was hired, another employee, Lafonda Townsend, was “happy with the salary.” “But it was before I could see how hard it was. The lounge is so far away, you have to eat like a prisoner to go back in time, fast, because if you’re a minute late, it’s an hour that you do not get paid.”
– can –
The e-commerce company hired a number of people by 2020 and raised its net profit to nearly $ 21 billion due to the outbreak of demand during the epidemic.
But America’s second-largest employer (800,000 workers) is embroiled in a fierce struggle for communication.
Its spokespersons recently attacked lawmakers who support the union on Twitter. They also denied that employees had to urinate in plastic bottles due to lack of time or going to the toilet, contrary to reports and photos published by different media.
In the warehouse, according to staff, Amazon texts them, puts up posters and holds meetings about the social benefits it provides. It also emphasizes high union contributions (approximately $ 500 per year), as well as current wages of at least $ 15 an hour, more than twice the minimum.
But “other stores in the region pay -20 18-20 per hour,” Brewer insists. Brewer and numerous viewers, the problem is not so much money, but complete control over what they try to pay.
“Like most American employers, Amazon wants to keep its power over everything, and make sure workers can’t negotiate anything,” said Rebecca Given, a professor of social relations at Rutgers University.
– Inspiration –
According to Given, the Seattle team can make “almost unlimited costs” to show that “any attempt to streamline is ruined and encourages other employees.”
But Amazon is not the only opponent in Bessemer. His visit a year ago was hailed as “the largest investment project in city history”, according to its mayor Kenneth Gully.
“If all of these negative and scary stories are true, it means that there are 5,800 idiots working in that building. And I did not work with any idiots, I’m not an idiot,” warehouse quality manager Dan Hoek told AFP.
He maintains that his colleagues do not need representatives to ask themselves, and expresses his pride in losing about 50 kg, especially thanks to the miles he walks every day in the warehouse.
Daryl Richardson, who worked on the origins of the movement, has also lost weight in recent months, but as a result of fatigue and stress, he notes.
“My body is not going to catch (this rate),” says the 51-year-old African-American. “They ask me why I’m not looking for another job. Easier said than done! I’m old, I do not have a good image. It’s time to fight.”
His message inspired many workers, Brewer insisted. “We received over 1,000 requests from about fifty different warehouses, mainly from Amazon.”