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

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

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge 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?

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  • (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?

    And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (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.