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posted by martyb on Saturday April 10 2021, @02:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the people-have-spoken dept.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/04/the-amazon-union-drive-in-alabama-appears-headed-for-defeat/

Update: A majority of workers have voted not to form a union at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer, Alabama. The result of the NLRB's initial vote count was 1,798 votes against the union and 738 in favor. Hundreds of additional ballots were not counted because their authenticity was disputed. But the "no" side already has a majority of the 3,215 votes cast, making the issue moot.

Original story, April 8: A closely watched effort to unionize an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama appears to be headed for defeat. With about half the votes counted, 1,100 workers have voted against forming a union, while only 463 voted in favor.

The National Labor Relations Board is counting the 3,215 votes that were cast by workers at the Bessemer facility. The union needs to win at least half the votes in order to become the official representative of the roughly 6,000 workers at the Bessemer facility. Counting has ended for the evening and is scheduled to resume at 8:30 am Central Time on Friday.

Also at The Washington Post, c|net, and Al Jazeera.


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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday April 10 2021, @02:55PM (27 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10 2021, @02:55PM (#1135688) Journal

    if people actually voted their conscience

    Because that has something to do with this? It's self interest all the way.

    or if there was...*interference...* beforehand

    We already know that. From the story:

    The National Labor Relations Board is counting the 3,215 votes that were cast by workers at the Bessemer facility. The union needs to win at least half the votes in order to become the official representative of the roughly 6,000 workers at the Bessemer facility.

    The union already has the law interfering on their side.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @04:09PM (26 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @04:09PM (#1135707)

    Amazon got a mailbox installed shortly before the vote right outside of the building so that they could see who was voting. This wasn't a situation where Amazon was just sitting idly by and let the workers vote their conscience, they've been firing union organizers and have networks of spies in their facilities looking for anybody that might be organizing.

    It's hard to say what the outcome would have been without Amazon going to those lengths, but it certainly would have been closer, at the bare minimum.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @04:47PM (24 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @04:47PM (#1135720)

      See who was voting

      Wasn't every worker supposed to vote? Seeing who voted doesn't tell you who voted which way unless every vote was the same.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @05:11PM (23 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @05:11PM (#1135733)

        Yes, but these people all have mailboxes at home or in their building. They could vote at home without being surrounded by spies and propaganda material. They could talk things over with their spouses and make a decision for themselves free of influence. It's hardly the only underhanded thing that Amazon was doing to try and get a No regardless of what the actual workers wanted.

        This outcome may be a legitimate expression of what the workers want, but don't be fooled into thinking that Amazon wasn't engaged in shady shenanigans to get the result they wanted above and beyond what is generally considered as ethical. They've recently been busted for illegally firing employees that were trying to organize.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @07:02PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @07:02PM (#1135758)

          Was anyone forcing them to use the company supplied mailbox? Does Amazon providing a mailbox somehow prevent workers from talking with their spouses? Does anybody fill out their ballot at the mailbox, or do they fill it out at home and then drop it in whatever mailbox is handy? I still can't see how this is anything nefarious.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday April 10 2021, @08:24PM (8 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10 2021, @08:24PM (#1135786) Homepage Journal

          You may not be aware of this, but Southerners are suspicious of unions. There are quite a number of reasons unions were never real big in the south, and one of those is, Southerners are always suspicious of Yankees and their grand ideas.

          --
          Let's go Brandon!
          • (Score: 5, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @08:56PM (5 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @08:56PM (#1135802)

            Nope, you just like slavery ;^)

            • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @10:17PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @10:17PM (#1135829)

              Like the Negro, they're playing a long game...

              1. Slavery for a few years
              2. Wait a while
              3. Wait some more
              4. Just a bit longer
              5. Reparations! Profit!!

            • (Score: 3, Touché) by Runaway1956 on Sunday April 11 2021, @12:01AM (3 children)

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 11 2021, @12:01AM (#1135850) Homepage Journal

              Slavery is history, moron. But think about this: In the non-unionized South, a couple who brings home just $20,000 to $25,000 per year, can scrape by, and even raise some kids. Depending on their situation, they might even be living moderately well. In your unionized North, and in California, that money won't pay for rent or mortgage, won't pay for the upkeep on a car, won't put food on the table. Won't even pay the taxes if you own real estate and/or personal property in many areas.

              Enjoy your unions. They help to ensure you can't get out of the rat race.

              --
              Let's go Brandon!
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @10:59AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @10:59AM (#1135990)

                It's not unions that make the south cheap, it's low income tax, cheap land, and lots of farms and food production facilities making local food cheap. The only one of those affected by unions is food. Rather, general rurality and cheapness of the south is caused by people with a choice not choosing to live there. Probably because southerners always want to kill each other over petty shit and idolize corrupt patriarchal leaders.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by bussdriver on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:26PM

                by bussdriver (6876) on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:26PM (#1136019)

                Private slavery was banned in the USA; government slavery is allowed. Slavery still exists around the world. look it up.
                Slavery isn't the worst condition; there are peasants who are disposable, functionally trapped, and beg for it out of desperation. A slave is valuable property and needs to be guarded.

                DEMAND drives up costs, duh. Civilized successful parts of the USA attract more people and cost more to live in because they are better - proof is in the numbers. CA isn't losing people to Texas. BS for over a decade says otherwise but CA still grew from #8 to #5 in the world economy and are still overpopulated, under-housed, and disaster prone. If it's so bad why do the "great" places remain relatively empty?

                Unions are why you have weekends.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @08:46PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @08:46PM (#1136119)

                Slavery is history, moron.

                Heh. You're telling the wrong people both those things.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @04:03AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @04:03AM (#1135917)

            Not as much as one might expect when the working conditions are terrible. Setting up unions down South is hard because the politicians have set up the laws to make it hard to organize and the federal government hasn't been much better the last 30 or 40 years. This isn't a case of Southerners in general as it is Southerners in particular that can see how horrible the working conditions are.

          • (Score: 3, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:59PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:59PM (#1136024)

            I seem to remember something about them being whipped by a union once.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @09:53PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10 2021, @09:53PM (#1135821)
          A lot of them are sleeping in their cars. In the Amazing parking lot. The mailbox at the Amazon door IS their home mailbox.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:04AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:04AM (#1135872)

            I suppose that is one way to save gas on the commute.

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:17AM (10 children)

          by Reziac (2489) on Sunday April 11 2021, @02:17AM (#1135875) Homepage

          Likewise, don't be fooled into thinking the union wasn't equally engaged in shady shenanigans to get the result they wanted.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @04:06AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @04:06AM (#1135919)

            Precisely what shenanigans were they engaged in? We know about the mailbox, the spies and the literal Pinkertons investigating the workers organizing. We've already had NRLB rulings that Amazon violated employee rights trying to stop them from organizing. Precisely what is it that the union did that was anywhere near that level of sliminess? I get my news from a variety of sources and I didn't hear about any actual improper activities on the part of any unions. Yes, they were probably secretive and sneaky, but so what? When my department unionized last year, we were sneaky and secretive until we had the votes secured to make the move.

          • (Score: 5, Touché) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday April 11 2021, @06:09AM

            by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Sunday April 11 2021, @06:09AM (#1135957) Journal

            Prove your assertions. Evidence, here and now. Or shut up.

            --
            I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
          • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday April 11 2021, @08:49PM (7 children)

            by Tork (3914) on Sunday April 11 2021, @08:49PM (#1136121)

            Likewise, don't be fooled into thinking the union wasn't equally engaged...

            Define 'equally'. I ask because those are VERY mismatched opponents.

            --
            Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
            • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Sunday April 11 2021, @08:57PM (6 children)

              by Reziac (2489) on Sunday April 11 2021, @08:57PM (#1136125) Homepage

              In my observation, it's usually the union that has the excessive clout.

              • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday April 11 2021, @10:06PM (4 children)

                by Tork (3914) on Sunday April 11 2021, @10:06PM (#1136139)

                Okay. So if unions are excessively powerful, why don't they exist in a de-facto sort of way? In simpler terms, why now and not when Amazon was advertising they could only fit inside a couple of warehouses?

                --
                Slashdolt Logic: "24 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
                • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @11:11PM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @11:11PM (#1136158)

                  Because their power is dependent upon the stage of development.

                  Until and unless workers say: "Yeah, we gon' get some UNION butter on our breads!" the union's basically irrelevant. UAW, Teamsters, IBEW, all irrelevant because nobody cares.

                  Once the workers scratch together a petition, all sorts of things start to flip the way of the union. They get legally mandated bennies, that they will aggressively defend on their way to the big vote.

                  Once the union crosses the magic threshold of a representation vote, they're in harder than a crack team of made men. They're immune to antitrust law, they get to require all sorts of things in terms of negotiations, and they get a chunk of worker pay regardless of any other considerations.

                  As a practical matter, they also have their own ability to intimidate or drive out workers who don't play ball, so the theoretical ability for workers to vote them out is mostly there as a kind of legalistic fig-leaf.

                  Even the dimmest bolt turners on the production lines have twigged that this isn't a great deal for them, which is why private industry union numbers have been sagging harder than Bob Dole once the Viagra wears off, for decades. In the government, the structure is different so that it's effectively a closed shop (with narrow exceptions) which is why civil servants are pretty much the pet poodles of the unions.

                  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @11:26PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @11:26PM (#1136161)

                    The people who push unions the most either work directly for one or have never been in any.

                    4 places I've worked had unions and all we saw was dues disappear from the check. Lots of go do x and y for the union, but not much of the union did z for you.

                    The usual bennies were the employers offered some insurance and there was a disciplinary system with set rules. So if you needed that or were a fuckup, the union had your back.

                • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday April 12 2021, @01:32AM (1 child)

                  by Reziac (2489) on Monday April 12 2021, @01:32AM (#1136210) Homepage

                  Not saying Amazon wasn't full of shit and wrongdoing. But people are talking like that automatically makes the union the pure and righteous alternative, when fact is unions have a long history of major-league shit and wrongdoing, especially when trying to weasel their way into a shop -- so why should this time be different?

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12 2021, @02:40PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 12 2021, @02:40PM (#1136403)
                    Because it's better to operate on actual facts.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @10:10PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11 2021, @10:10PM (#1136145)

                In my observation, you are just making shit up.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday April 11 2021, @06:54AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 11 2021, @06:54AM (#1135968) Journal
      You know, we never did hear what was supposed to be so magical about this mailbox. Even if you're hypothetically sleeping in the parking lot, you can always use a different mailbox, if it really matters.

      and let the workers vote their conscience

      Never a problem with union elections.