Letter to the editor, NY Times

To the Editor:

I have to question why an article that concludes “(t)urnout for the vote was low, at only about half of all eligible workers, suggesting that neither Amazon nor the union had overwhelming support” was headlined  Why Amazon Workers Sided With the Company Over a Union.  If the article was PR written by Jeff Bezos himself, it could not have been more faithful to his point of view or desired outcome.  Fittingly, it ends with Mr. Bezos promising shareholders he’ll do even better to make his lowest paid employees even happier.

The authors observe that if the estimated 25% of the workforce that “turned over” during the three month organizing/voting period had stayed, unionization likely would have prevailed.

Among crucial issues unaddressed by the article, if Amazon workers side with Amazon, why does Amazon have such massive worker turnover, even during a pandemic and economic hard times in one of the poorest states in the US?

The reader is left to piece together, from the “wish” expressed by Amazon supporters that they could have more than a 30 minute break during their ten hour shifts, that working conditions might be less than ideal at the Bessemer, Alabama Amazon fulfillment center.

The reader is left completely uninformed about the “aggressive” (and multi-million dollar) measures Amazon took to defeat the union and dissuade half of its workforce from voting at all.

We get only the gentlest hint of the famously oppressive conditions at the Amazon warehouses that cause so many to quit their jobs, even during an international health emergency. As though the right to urinate when it’s urgent is irrelevant compared to a generous minimum wage and company provided health insurance.

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