It has been nearly a year since workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York voted to form the company’s first labor union in the United States – a historic win that garnered worldwide attention. However, the conflict remains unresolved.
Amazon has taken legal action against the outcome of the election.
Attempts to organize workers at other warehouses, including the one just across the street, have failed.
The warehouse workers’ labor contract negotiations with the corporation have not yet begun. And when they do, they are expected to take years.
Former Amazon employee Chris Smalls, who founded the union after being fired during the pandemic, is unfazed by the lack of progress.
“We know we’re dealing with a trillion-dollar corporation that would spend X dollars to prevent a union from forming. So the timing is about what we anticipated,” he says.
This month, officials finally certified the Amazon Labor Union’s triumph at the JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island. Which employs over 8,000 workers.
Amazon, which has alleged that election results were unduly biased against the firm, intends to file an appeal. This week, the original deadline was extended by two weeks.
“We believed it was unlikely that the regional office of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) would find against itself. And we intend to appeal,” spokesperson Kelly Nantel said.
Amazon union fight
“As we’ve stated from the start, we do not believe this voting process was fair, genuine, or representative of the majority of our team’s desires.”
The current status is reflective of the persistent concerns regarding the future of the American labor movement.
Despite an increase in organizing activities, the percentage of workers who are union members has maintained its decades-long decline, dropping to 10.1% in 2017 from 10.2% in 2021.
This is the lowest rate ever recorded and approximately half of what it was in 1983 when the government began recording the numbers.
However, there are indications that labor organizers have achieved progress.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2022, more than seventy percent of Americans currently support labor unions, the greatest percentage since 1965.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reported that the number of petitions from workers seeking to form unions at their companies increased by 53% in the 12 months leading up to October, to over 2,510 – the largest amount since 2016.
And in the private sector, the number of union members grew by about 200,000 last year. The first increase in nearly a decade, led by advances in the transportation and warehousing industries.
However, these advances did not keep pace with the overall growth of the labor force, which accelerated last year.
According to Cathy Creighton, director of Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations Buffalo Co-Lab and former field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, US legislation favors employers, making it unlikely that the action will lead to long-term wins for the labor movement.
She claims that the law has no mechanism to compel employers to negotiate a contract with employees.
“I’m not denying that a movement is afoot, but the question is how it will fare in the long run.” she asserts
Amazon union fight continuing after workers’ success
“Corporate America is fighting back aggressively, and the government is not on the side of the workers at this time, unless the American people realize what is occurring, recognize the barrier, and push their elected officials to amend the legislation.”
She claims that employers are often able to deflate labor movements by simply running out the time.
In this instance, Mr. Smalls has not worked for Amazon for nearly three years. And his celebrity profile has prompted charges that he has gotten divorced from work difficulties. Another prominent official at the Amazon Labor Union. Derrick Palmer, has been sidelined since late last year while the business investigates a labor dispute.
Mr. Smalls denies that Amazon’s waiting game will be successful, citing new union campaigns in Minnesota and California. This week, he is also scheduled to visit the United Kingdom, where workers are planning their first-ever strike.
“Their objective is to delay for as long as possible, but we will also be resourceful. This is what led us here “He claims.
He adds, “We don’t want anything but a contract, and we won’t stop organizing or fighting until we receive it.” “If the company is truly an excellent one, then it’s time to sit down and bargain.”