Amazon will carry to the end his battle against the creation of what could be the company’s first employee union in EE.UU., in line with an anti-unionism that is among the great obsessions of a company that is already the second largest employer in the country.
Employees of a warehouse in Alabama voted throughout February and March whether or not they want to organize in a union, and these days the vote is being carried out, a long and disputed process because the validity of each vote is analyzed individually by part of the company and the workers.
FORESEEABLE REMEDY IN CASE OF VICTORY
“Even if (the pro-unionists) win, what will happen next is that Amazon will file a complaint alleging that the election was not held in the proper way,” the expert in the company and visiting professor at George University predicted in an interview with Efe.
Gaster, author of the book “Behemoth, Amazon Rising: Power and Seduction in the Age of Amazon”, points out that this predictable complaint would be presented to the Board National Labor Relations (NLRB).
The government entity, the highest authority on labor disputes in the country, will continue to be dominated in the coming months by a majority of Republican members appointed during the past government of Donald Trump (2017-2021) and generally closer to the interests of the company than the unionists.
This favorable scenario, together with Amazon’s long anti-union history and the strong opposition it has presented in recent months in the case of Alabama (even attacking senators in support of the union effort on the networks) practically guarantee a long battle and with all weapons.
Even in the event that all his efforts were in vain and the union was created, Gaster recalls that the law in the United States provides that the following year the company will try to force a new vote and in case of not repeating a majority, the union is no longer recognized.
HIGH TURNOVER HAMBLES UNIONISM
Despite the fact that Amazon has been operating for more than 25 years and employs some 800,000 workers in the US, they do not have any union organization, a direct consequence of the strong opposition of the company and an employment model based on high turnover rates.
“It is a very difficult environment for unions to form because they require trust and solidarity among workers, but at Amazon they don’t have time because workers are constantly coming and going,” says Gaster.
In addition, according to the expert, the company can relatively easily filter (through interviews and analysis of their work history) potential new hires to ensure that they are not favorable to unionization.
Since the voting began in the Alabama warehouse, Amazon has deployed a very strong advertising campaign throughout the country praising the company’s working conditions and has engaged from the corporate account in bitter discussions with progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. .
A VERY HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT
“Amazon is very hostile to efforts to unionise and they have taken advantage of the fact that in the last forty years in the US, since (former President Ronald) Reagan, the climate for union organizations has been very difficult,” explains Peter Meiksins, professor. Emeritus of Sociology at Cleveland State University in Ohio.
In addition to the traditional resistance of most employers to union organizations, in the case of Amazon, experts point out that a company culture component is added, which requires an absolute commitment to the corporate “mission” and the unions. they are seen as a breach in that endeavor.
This is shown by policies such as the option offered each January to its employees to leave the firm voluntarily if they are not comfortable with a compensation of $ 1,000 per year worked, but with the promise that they will never work for them again.
“Amazon can be understood as a cult. Its mission is to be the most customer-centric company on the planet and that means that anything that is beneficial to the customer is acceptable ”, even if it means pushing its employees to the limit to reduce the final cost of the service, emphasizes Gaster.