Workers vs. giant corporations

Argue, if you like, but the man makes a good four minute case about the inequality of power between giant corporations and increasingly un-unionized employees, which I watched on the day the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post prints an Associated Press article about the legal case the union has made against Amazon’s successful efforts to crush the union effort by intimidating, threatening and monitoring workers prior to and during the vote [1]. The NY Times, we note, did not cover this development. It has published not a mumbling word about Amazon or the union since it’s April 16 piece claiming Amazon workers pretty much love their company.

Robert Reich makes a very strong case, unless, of course, you agree with Mr. Bezos, Mr. Zuckerberg, Ms. DeVos, that it is perfectly fair that 0.01% of the population has about as much wealth as the bottom 90%. You can make a case for that, but 90% of Americans probably wouldn’t buy it.

[1] From Union accuses Amazon of illegally interfering with vote

…Many of the other allegations by the union revolve around a mailbox that Amazon installed in the parking lot of the Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. It said the mailbox created the false appearance that Amazon was conducting the election, intimidating workers into voting against the union. Security cameras in the parking lot could have recorded workers going to the mailbox, giving the impression that workers were being watched by the company and that their votes weren’t private, according to the retail union…

...Alex Colvin, the dean of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, said these types of cases can take a year or more to resolve. Even if a union wins, the penalties for the employer are weak, like it could be forced to post a notice saying employees have a right to form a union. He said the labor board could hold another election, but at workplaces where turnover is high like at Amazon, the employees might no longer be around. Overturning the results are rare, Colvin said.

The union push in Bessemer was the biggest in Amazon’s 26-year history and only the second time one reached a vote. Workers reached out to the union last summer, tired of working 10-hour days on their feet, packing boxes or storing products, without getting enough time to take a break. Mail-in voting started in early February and went on from about 50 days. Organizers promised a union would lead to better working conditions, better pay and more respect.

Amazon, meanwhile, argued that it already offered more than twice the minimum wage in Alabama and provided workers with health care, vision benefits and dental insurance, without paying union dues.

Always generous, the avaricious Mr. Bezos had the last words of the article

Last week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos acknowledged in a shareholder letter that the company could do better for its workers and said he didn’t take comfort in the outcome of the union election in Bessemer. He vowed to make Amazon a safer place to work by reducing sprains, strains and other injuries at warehouses.

“I think we need to do a better job for our employees,” Bezos said.

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