U.S. & World News

Amazon Union Vote Fails

Unionization fails 1,798-738 in Alabama

By Avery Strychasz, staff writer
Photo courtesy of flickr.com
After significant online criticsm of Amazon’s labor practices, a union vote failed by 1,000 votes at one of the company’s largest Southern plants.

Amazon factory workers made the first attempt to unionize since 2014 on April 9 in Bessemer, Ala. With over 5,000 factory workers, the warehouse in Bessemer is one of the largest in the South.

Workers voted on whether the Alabama plant should join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Joining RWSDU would most immediately affect employee safety programs and health care.  

The results of this vote came in on Friday afternoon in favor of not unionizing. With a final total of 1,798 to 738, the vote heavily favored keeping Amazon’s current employee safety programs. 

Opposers of Amazon say that the company sent misinformation about the vote to its employees or downplayed the seriousness of the situation. Allegedly, the company also pressured the postal service to install a mailbox in front of their factory so that they could monitor the number of employees voting.  

RWSDU President Stuart Appelbaum has already committed to fighting the vote by challenging the results. 

“Amazon has left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees,” Appelbaum commented.  

Civil rights activists have questioned the industry giant’s commitment to creating a diverse environment, especially because the majority of eligible unionization voters were African American.  

Support for pro-union voters came in abundance from Twitter, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leading the charge by calling those who came out and voted against Amazon “an inspiration” who should be “applauded.” 

Twitter user Rafael Khachaturian (@rafkach) responded to a new York Times article about the vote, asking for them to “cut the sh*t. (They) beat the union drive through misinformation, intimidation, pressure.”

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