Both Amazon and Workers Win
By David Henderson
Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama will not be forming a union.
The vast majority of votes cast by Amazon’s workers in Bessemer, Ala., were against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in a stinging defeat of the union drive. The final tally showed 1,798 votes against unionizing and 738 votes in favor of the union.
This is from a news story from National Public Radio. The piece, by Alina Selyukh, is “It’s a No: Amazon Warehouse Workers Vote Against Unionizing in Historic Election,” NPR, April 9, 2021.
One nice thing about the news story is how objective it was. She gave both the union’s side, Amazon’s side, and, to some extent, the side of workers who didn’t want a union.
The lopsided vote, with 71% of those who voted saying no, suggests that they don’t see themselves gaining from having a union.
Here’s a quote from an Amazon statement after the election:
It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true. Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us. And Amazon didn’t win—our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union. Our employees are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we’ve always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace. We’re not perfect, but we’re proud of our team and what we offer, and will keep working to get better every day.
Actually, Amazon did win, but so, probably, did the majority of the employees who voted no.
Here’s an interesting nugget from Sebastian Herrera, “Amazon Workers in Alabama Vote Against Forming a Union,” Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2021:
“A lot of us are in agreement that we don’t need anybody there to speak for us and take our money,” said Cori Jennings, 40 years old, who works there and voted against unionizing. Ms. Jennings, who talked to The Wall Street Journal before the results were final, said she and many of her colleagues were also eager for the national attention to fade: “We want our lives to go back to normal.”
For more, see what I said about the issues in that election last month.