The Alabama union vote and what it means for Amazon and its workers


Amazon is facing the largest union election in its history at its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse. A major union vote is underway in Bessemer. AL which could reject or certify the first Amazon union.  Jeff Bezos is very aware that in Alabama the stakes are much higher because 6,000 workers are eligible to vote.

There has been increased scrutiny of the labor practices in Amazon’s warehouses amongst its employees. Amazon employees have been speaking out and pushing back against Amazon’s company policies. The drive for a union with Amazon has been quashed for many years but in the past year worker activism is on the rise.

There was a lot of risk for employees working in Amazon warehouses due to COVID-19. Many employees protested about the safety measures not in place in its warehouses to keep  them safe. Amazon was reported to be firing workers who were protesting against the company’s policies and procedures.

Labor regular supported the claims and found that the complaints in regard to the layoffs were retaliatory by Amazon. As the best of our union election went underway, Amazon required workers to attend anti-union training and also made them aware by setting up posters in the warehouse about anti-union information. This information was also sent to Amazon workers cell phones.

An  Amazon spokesperson  said in a statement,  “Our employees know the truth, starting wages of $15 or more, health care from day one, and a safe and inclusive workplace.  We encouraged all of our employees to vote, and their voices will be heard in the days ahead.” Amazon has operations in all 50 states with about 950,000 employees in the U.S with none of them being unionized. The company is the second-biggest U.S. employer after Walmart Inc.

Labor regulators have backed up some of these claims by finding merit in complaints that the layoffs were retaliatory. As the Bessemer union drive moved toward an election, Amazon required workers to attend anti-union training, sent messages to their phones and posted anti-union signs in facilities.

Amazon took a tough fight back stance on Twitter towards Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) over their criticisms of the company’s labor and business practices. A tweet from an Amazon executive on the company’s official Twitter account, insiders and observers asked, “What the hell is going on?” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was highly dissatisfied for a while that  company officials we’re not taking a more  aggressive stance  about  criticisms of the company.

The last union election that was held at a facility in the US for Amazon was in early 2014 with a small group of warehouse workers, of about 27 mechanics and technicians at the Amazon Delaware warehouse. Amazon’s is the second-largest U.S. employer.  A yes vote for a union would signify  a general trend toward dwindling private-sector union membership rates seen since the ’60s.

Trend Analysis

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