Workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York have taken to building a union, six months after a similar attempt in Alabama failed, and are already accusing the e-commerce giant of doing everything to dissuade their colleagues.
At this stage, in the United States, no Amazon sorting and logistics center has succeeded in creating a union. “Since our campaign (collecting signatures) started, Amazon has wasted no time in implementing anti-union tactics”, indicated Thursday the association which is baptized ALU, for Amazon Labor Union (“union of Amazon workers”). “We have faced the same strategies employed in Bessemer, Alabama, like the posters in the toilets or the outside consultants, specialists in the fight against unions, who come into the workplace and divide the employees.”, said the ALU in a press release.
Last April, at the end of long months of campaigning under pressure, the no to unionization had largely won in an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer. Despite the mobilization of activists and political figures to the top of the state, barely more than 2,500 employees had voted, out of the 5,900 called to the polls. In August, an official from the American labor law agency (NLRB) “Determined that Amazon had violated employment law” and recommended that a new vote be held in Alabama, according to the RWDSU union, which had organized the attempt.
“Not the best answer”
“Our employees have the choice to join a union or not”, reacted Kelly Nantel, a spokesperson for the group contacted by AFP. Corn “As a company, we do not believe that unions are the best answer for our employees”, she added. “We have made great progress in recent years and months in terms of wages and safety. We can still do better, and that is our goal ”, she said, ensuring that to improve things «and continuous» was more difficult with the unions playing the “Intermediaries”. In April, the group brushed aside accusations of intimidation and ensured that its employees had “Heard a lot more anti-Amazon messages from the union, elected officials and the media than from us”.
The ALU has planned to submit its file, with the 2000 favorable signatures collected, to the NLRB on October 25. If approved, a vote will be held for Amazon’s Staten Island site (a neighborhood in New York City). The potential future union wants in particular to demand higher wages, job security, safer working conditions and more holidays. It is notably piloted by Christian Smalls, a former employee of the group who had been dismissed after having organized a demonstration at JFK8, one of the warehouses on Staten Island. According to Amazon, Christian Smalls had been ousted for going there when he was supposed to be in quarantine after coming into contact with an infected colleague.
Amazon, which experienced tremendous growth during the pandemic and hired around the world, employs some 950,000 people in the United States alone.
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