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ความพยายามในการรวมกลุ่มของ Amazon ในอดีตดูเหมือนจะล้มเหลวใน Alabama

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While the vote is ongoing, Amazon has gained the number of “no” votes needed to defeat the unionization effort at its fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. Workers were voting on whether to unionize as part of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

At the time of writing, 1,769 workers had voted against unionization, while 726 voted for it, according to the New York Times. Amazon had to get 1,608 “no” votes to pass the 50 percent mark needed to defeat the unionization effort.

Nearly 6,000 people work at the Bessemer plant, and 3,215 cast votes.

The vote is the culmination of a high profile and intense, months-long campaign. Amazon hired a law firm with a reputation for union busting, employing tactics including long anti-union employee meetings, bathrooms blanketed with anti-union signs, and intimating to pro-union workers that it was watching them.

Amazon’s actions in Alabama were not isolated, NBC reports. It has been allegedly quashing organizing attempts across the country through employee intimidation including, employees say, retaliatory firing. Amazon denies this.

However, even President Biden condemned anti-union propaganda as he stood behind the Alabama workers’ “free and fair choice to join a union” without intimidation. Biden’s union support reportedly gave a boost to Bessemer organizers trying to convince fellow employees that it was in their best interest to unionize for improvements to pay and workplace conditions.

The stakes for this one workplace were so high because the drive could have implications beyond the walls of the factory, which is about 15 miles from Birmingham.

“This is lighting a fuse, which I believe is going to spark an explosion of union organizing across the country, regardless of the results,” Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the RWDSU, told the Associated Press.

Amazon has successfully fought off union attempts before, but this is the largest in the U.S. in its history, and includes a variety of warehouse jobs whereas previous drives were much more limited in who would be covered. A 2014 attempt limited to roughly 30 equipment technicians and mechanics at a Delaware warehouse failed to pass. Amazon crushed another union attempt by 30 machinists in Virginia, according to the New York Times. Amazon workers in other countries, including Germany, the UK, and Japan have already unionized.

Amazon is against its employees forming a union because it could eat into its bottom line — which, in 2020, netted a cool US$386 billion in annual revenue. Unionization could result in higher wages, and potentially require Amazon to change the extreme efficiency it demands of its workers (at the expense of their reported physical and mental well-being). Bessemer employees campaigning for a union also want safer working conditions.

Amazon argues that it already pays generous wages (US$15/hour, which is over twice the federal minimum wage of US$7.25/hour), and that its employees are super happy to work there. Just look at the employees it pays extra to say so.

The RWDSU announced on Friday that it would file objections with the National Labor Relations Board claiming Amazon illegally interfered with the vote.

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