NEW YORK – After them hard labor victory, Amazon workers in New York’s Staten Island area drank champagne, celebrated their victory and danced to celebrate. But their cheerful attitude will be tested by a company that seems to be pull your feet to the table.
Among other things, the nascent labor union Amazon, or ALU, said it wants longer breaks for warehouse workers, more free time and a much higher minimum hourly wage of $ 30 compared to just over $ 18 an hour at Staten- Island.
To achieve something close to this, the mass union would have to agree on a contract with Amazon that both parties as well as union members agree on. This can be difficult.
Amazon is seeking to undo the electionarguing in the feed with the National Labor Relations Council this month that the vote was tainted by organizers and the council’s regional office in Brooklyn, which oversaw the election. On Friday, the company submitted to the agency materials in support of its objections. A spokeswoman for the labor council said the agency would not publish the statement until the case is still open. A separate NLRB regional office in the southwest is likely to hold hearings and decide whether to approve the results.
If Amazon’s efforts fail, it could turn to the National Labor Council, whose Democratic majority is expected to support the new union. But even when the agency defends union victory, companies often refuse to negotiate – a position that could spark protracted court battles in federal court as a behind-the-scenes way to thwart labor victories.
Data collected in 2009 by Kate Bronfenbrenner, an expert on work from Cornell University, found that less than half of unions won their first contract within a year of winning the election, and 30% had not secured it for three years. Meanwhile, time is running out as workers remain in a state of uncertainty.
John Logan, director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University, says anti-union campaigns have traditionally held that even if they lose the election, the battle is indeed lost until a union contract is signed.
“They have every incentive to delay the process whenever possible,” Logan said. Law firms and consultants specializing in long-term evasion have been telling employers for years, “Time is on your side.” “
Even if Amazon goes to federal court and fails, it could still lead to a contract delay and potentially blunt some momentum that could create a union victory. Chris Smalls, a laid-off employee of Amazon who heads Amazon’s labor union, said that after the group won the election earlier this month, workers at more than 100 Amazon facilities in the U.S. contacted the union to organize their own jobs. Amazon’s neighboring warehouse on Staten Island, which employs about 1,500 people, is a must have their own union elections this week.
Experts say delays in concluding contracts could disrupt such union campaigns and undermine employees’ confidence in organized work. The result can be a weak contract or reduced employee interest in the organization.
If Amazon has a lengthy lawsuit before agreeing to a contract, the number of employees in the warehouse who voted for the union is also likely to decrease. Amazon is known for its high turnover rate – up to 73% in union stock in the last two years alone, according to a recent court statement.
One of the ways workers can push back is through strikes. This, of course, carries its own risks. Michael Duff, a former NLRB lawyer who teaches at the University of Wyoming College of Law, noted that Amazon can replace any striker with a replacement, potentially leaving strikers out of work for months or even years.
Some unions have the means to help strikers stay afloat without difficulty. But maintaining such support can be difficult for unions. It is also difficult for workers to survive long strikes, Duff said, which employers are well aware of.
Conor Spence, an Amazon employee who is ALU’s vice president of membership, says the nascent union is ready to put pressure on the company by expressing its arguments through the media and arousing public sympathy. According to a Gallup poll in August, public approval of unions is at its highest level since 1965.
Spence said ALU organizers, who recently appeared at a virtual event with Senator Bernie Sanders, a longtime labor champion, will also try to persuade lawmakers to rely on retailers.
“But in the end, it’s a collective action that works,” Spence said.
Organizers may launch a strike or truancy to disrupt Amazon’s Staten Island operations, Spence said, noting that exits from occurred at other Amazon facilities in recent months. The group also plans to create a strike fund using donations collected through its GoFundMe page.
So far the organizers are focusing on a rematch with Amazon at a neighboring warehouse in Staten Island known as LDJ5. Winning there will give Amazon employees extra leverage during any potential strike or exit.
Amazon and its CEO Andy Jesse have said that while employees have to decide whether to join a union, they believe they better not do so. To express its argument, the company continues to hold mandatory anti-union rallies for workers – a practice that is the attorney general of the Department of Labor. trying to be outlawed.
Organizers have previously accused Amazon of confiscating union leaflets from the LDJ5 warehouse. Last week, the union filed a complaint with the NLRB, alleging that Amazon had illegally banned it from displaying a union badge in the lounge. Organizers say workers were able to show the same sign at JFK8, a neighboring institution that voted to unite.
Seth Goldstein, a lawyer who provides unpaid legal aid to the union, argued that Amazon managers told workers it was against the company’s policy to show the sign, but did not specify the policy and threatened discipline. An Amazon spokesman said some workers “put up a banner in violation of company policy” but declined to say why the same banner was allowed to be displayed at a nearby warehouse.
“It’s an information war,” said Madeline Wesley, one of the organizers working for the LDJ5 warehouse. “It won’t stop us. But we have to be a little careful, make sure that no one gets to the point where he starts to be severely punished and does not lose his job. “