They have exposed Amazon’s dangerous jobs, its desperation to silence workers, and America’s broken labor laws. That’s why we need to pass the PRO Act.
By DAVID GROVES
(April 9, 2021) — Though the final election results are not yet known, reports indicate that Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., may be coming up short in their effort to form a union with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
But the truth is, these Amazon workers have already won.
In a true David vs. Goliath story, a handful of workers banded together to seek not more money, but safer working conditions and respect on the job. They took on the biggest company in the world run by the richest man in the world. They exposed the unsafe working conditions and started a national conversation about how dehumanizing Amazon warehouse work can be.
Jeff Bezos says he’s proud of working conditions at Amazon. Workers say they’re surveilled, treated like robots, and forced to work in a grueling and unsafe environment.
Now these warehouse workers in Alabama are organizing to demand change. pic.twitter.com/D7o97ymbLf
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) February 10, 2021
Now instead of arguing over what tax breaks we can give Amazon to locate their operations in our communities, people are talking about why Amazon employees have to piss in bottles just to meet their quotas. Americans have sided with Amazon’s workers. A recent poll found that more than three quarters of Americans support the Alabama workers’ unionization drive.
Also, the “Bamazon” workers’ campaign has exposed our labor laws for what they are — broken.
The National Labor Relations Act is supposed to encourage collective bargaining and protect Americans’ freedom to join together in unions if they so choose, without interference, intimidation or coercion from their employers.
But that’s not what happens in America today. Employers routinely call in their union-busting attorneys, coerce and intimidate employees, bombard them with anti-union propaganda, block the organizers’ access to employees to make their case for a union, and interfere in the election process in countless other ways. Amazon did all of those things and more to stop their employees from joining together to have a real voice on the job.
Check out this thoughtful thread by Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) Click on it and read the whole thing.
The goal of the company like Amazon in one of these elections is not to win hearts and minds, not to persuade people, not to have a truthful debate about the pros and cons of workers having a union.
(It would be hard for them to win such a debate.)
— Andy Levin (@Andy_Levin) April 8, 2021
Amazon organizers in Alabama have underscored why we need to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and restore Americans’ freedom to form unions.
TAKE A STAND — Click to call your senators or go ahead and dial 866-832-1560, and tell them to support working people by voting YES on the PRO Act. Let’s show the Senate that people are pro-union across the country and across party lines. Both Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell support the PRO Act, but please call anyway to thank them and tell them how important this is. Even if you’ve previously emailed/called on the PRO Act, please do so again today!
The commercial press, which wants to reports winners and losers, may soon be reporting that this organizing campaign failed. But even if they don’t get their union this time — and the election results are almost certain to be contested given Amazon’s actions — these workers’ efforts have absolutely not been a failure. They have drawn national attention to Amazon’s dangerous jobs, the company’s desperation to keep its employees from having more power, and America’s broken labor laws.
They’ve won already.
David Groves is Editor of The Stand.