Amazon workers voted down Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union membership

Amazon does not have to accept a trade union in its distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama. More than half of the employees voted against membership of the trade union Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

In the United States, the influence of a trade union is not dependent on the membership of a few employees, but is regulated by company or establishment.

RWDSU wanted to get a foothold at Amazon through the distribution center in Alabama. That company is the second employer in the US, with over 800,000 employees in its own country. Amazon has so far managed to keep the unions out of the door, partly thanks to the counter-campaign that the company started. “A union is a business that makes money from the membership fee that is deducted monthly from the workers ‘salary,” the company wrote on its website earlier this year.

“Why don’t you save that contribution and buy the books, gifts and stuff that you want?”

What, you think a union is gonna raise your pay? “No,” Amazon said. “The union can’t guarantee anything. Everything depends on the negotiations. Only Amazon can change the hours worked, wages and benefits, whatever the union promises.”

Amazon did a lot to make the union seem unattractive to the staff. The company Jeff Bezos warned that if trade unions are allowed to negotiate collectively with Amazon, employees may even suffer.

Amazon is regularly in the news because of its ill-treatment of employees. For example, employees at the distribution centers have to pack an article every 11 seconds and walk kilometers per day with hardly any breaks. Amazon deliverers had to work so hard that they didn’t have time for sanitary stops and regularly peed in a bottle in the cabin of their van.

In the week before the count, both Amazon and the Union could contest votes, for example because the ballot was tampered with or because the person who cast the vote would not be entitled to vote.

According to RWDSU, due to the attention paid to the Bessemer case, more than a thousand membership applications have been received from Amazon employees in other distribution centers. President Stuart Applebaum calls it “an important moment for workers” regardless of the outcome and claims that “their voices will be heard”.’

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