Among the many reasons behind the recent failure of Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, to form a union was their employer’s intimidation tactics about what a union would mean for workers. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) in its response to the disappointing vote against unionization released a statement saying, “Amazon interfered More
On Friday, April 9th, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union was defeated in its effort to organize Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, AL. The union accuses Amazon of unfairly interfering with the vote and plans to appeal. However disappointing is the Amazon defeat, it signals something more telling. During the fin de siècle and the early-20th century, large corporations cornered whole segments of America’s economy using predatory pricing, exclusivity deals and other anti-competitive practices to undercut smaller local businesses. And numerous strikes were defeated, often leading striking workers injured, arrested or killed. More
When Amazon opened its second fulfillment center in the Baltimore region, in 2018, most anyone driving to it from the city arrived via Dundalk Avenue, which took them past a yellow brick building that was constructed in 1952 to house Local 2609 and 2610 of the United Steelworkers and an adjacent building that opened after Local 2610 moved into its own space.
Labor historian Michael Goldfield, author of The Southern Key, offers his analysis of why the Amazon warehouse union drive in Bessemer, Alabama was unsuccessful and how similar outcomes can be avoided in the future.
Amazon won the majority of ballots cast in the union election by the company’s warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama. There’s no way around it: the result is a major setback in the fight to organize one of the most powerful corporations on the planet.