Why is that this taking place now?
Two huge forces have helped drive the unionization effort: the pandemic’s deal with important employees and the racial reckoning introduced on by Black Lives Matter protests.
Amazon opened the Bessemer warehouse in March 2020, simply because the coronavirus was taking maintain in America. The pandemic made clear the essential position important employees, a lot of whom have been Black and paid hourly, performed in serving prospects and the economic system broadly. Amazon had extraordinary development final yr, as individuals turned to on-line purchasing as a substitute of venturing into shops. It went on a huge hiring spree, ending the yr with 1.three million staff and $386 billion in gross sales.
In early summer time, George Floyd’s killing prompted requires racial justice, and the union has targeted its organizing on problems with racial equality and empowerment. It has a decades-long historical past of engaged on civil rights and labor points within the area. Across the identical time, Amazon ended the additional pay it had given employees earlier within the pandemic. The employees who began the organizing mentioned their pay was not commensurate with the dangers they took and the productiveness they need to preserve.
What’s Amazon’s place?
Amazon has mentioned it doesn’t consider the union represents the views of a majority of its employees and that it might disrupt the direct relationship the corporate has with staff. Amazon performs up its minimal wage of $15 an hour, plus advantages like well being care and parental go away. The minimal wage in Alabama is $7.25 an hour.
In its communications with employees, by means of indicators plastered in lavatory stalls, an internet site and mailers, Amazon has said the union’s dues would depart employees with much less cash for issues they need or want, like faculty provides. It doesn’t point out that in Alabama, a “proper to work” state, paying dues is optionally available.