Amazon.com Inc. Has successfully thwarted attempts by its American employees to form a union over the years. Now the tech company is preparing for a labor fight unlike anything in its history.
Over the next two months, mail-in ballots to thousands of Amazon employees in a warehouse in Alabama are set to determine if the union should hold a vote, a vote that would show the relationship between workers and the nation’s second-largest employer Can reopen.
Commerce giants face a familiar rival: the retail, wholesale and department store associations, or RWDSU, which together with local organizers are helping to lead the pro-union campaign. The union has helped mobilize thousands of poultry workers in a right-to-work state in Alabama, and has consistently become anti-Amazon in recent years. RWDSU battled the company’s plans for a second headquarters in New York in late 2018 and staged labor protests in some warehouses during the coronavirus epidemic.
According to labor experts, the current effort has had more success than other attempts to mobilize Amazon workers so far. They note that a successful union push to the warehouse could lead to similar actions on more than 800 facilities in the US on Amazon
“Amazon has seen their demand” during the epidemic, said Arthur Wheaton, director of Western NY Labor and Environmental Programs for the Worker Institute at Cornell University. He said that the company’s continued growth would bring increasing scrutiny about the pay and behavior of its employees.