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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama will not be forming a union. The vast majority of votes cast by Amazon's workers in Bessemer, Ala., were against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in a stinging defeat of the union drive.

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Is it a surprise that Alabama workers are too cowardly to stand up for themselves, same is true in many other states. Those unwilling to embrace the rights of workers to unite deserve to live in poverty as they do. I actually was offered an opportunity to move to Mississippi with financing for a business of my own, I turned it down. I would never live in that s**th**e. IMHO, S. Florida should be a seperate state, we have no connection to the pathetic Neanderthals that rule this state.

#1 | Posted by danni at 2021-04-10 09:49 AM | Reply

Realize that in Alabama, Mississippi and other southern s**th**es poor white folks joined the Confederacy and fought and died for it. Chumps all! Ignorance is a goal in the South. The dumbest people in America live there. I've experienced it, totally unimaginably proud of their ignorance. Yes, I do live in Florida but S. Florida is not like the rest of Florida which probably explains why the rest of the state hates us.

#2 | Posted by danni at 2021-04-10 10:04 AM | Reply

When I was 20 in 1971 I moved from NH to Oregon and got a job with a paper company setting chokers on a logging crew. I was told that eventually I was going to have to join "the union", which really ticked me off as I wanted nothing to do with being told I "had" to do anything (especially at THAT age :>). That was my only brush with a union job & as such have had mixed feelings about them. But that chart above, and the stories of working conditions at Amazon facilities leaves me shocked at the lopsided results. DANNI-my wife & I are legal residents of FL but are fulltime in an RV and live out west-what's your beef with S Florida, other than too many rich and usually obnoxious retirees?

#3 | Posted by Yodagirl at 2021-04-10 10:45 AM | Reply

I was surprised that Amazon union organizers picked an Alabama facility to hold their first unionization attempt.

Alabama is a known anti-union state. The organizers first had to convince the workers that unions in general were not evil, then they had to convince the workers that an Amazon union would be beneficial.

If the organizers had begun in a different state, the first part of their campaign would not have been needed, and the second part wuld have been received better.

From the beginning, I did not expect the unionization vote to succeed.

#4 | Posted by LampLighter at 2021-04-10 10:51 AM | Reply

NPR interviewed some ground level workers at the AL facility who voted no to unionization. They made a convincing argument: Amazon pays 2x local minimum wage, benefits unmatched by most local companies, instead of union reps, there are local employee relations folks. It was a convincing argument that "at least at the AL level, life couldn't get any better with a Union because QoL is already high."

It was a convincing argument by that company woman lol.

#5 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2021-04-10 11:17 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

That one woman in particular made it sound like her employment at Amazon changed her status/quality of life - it was moving. Considering that she was outspoken on it enough to go on national radio, she likely had some influence in changing votes in the workplace. Or perhaps she was a plant reading bullet points - who knows.

#6 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2021-04-10 11:20 AM | Reply

"It was a convincing argument "

It also makes a lot of sense. Unions are the turn of LAST resort.

Also, unionizing in a Right-To-Work-For-Less state is an uphill battle, fought right after you shoot yourself in the foot: Even if you win, workers now covered by the contract don't have to pay initiation fees or dues, while the Union still must fight just as hard for them as for the paying members.

#7 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-10 11:23 AM | Reply

@#5 ... It was a convincing argument that "at least at the AL level, life couldn't get any better with a Union because QoL is already high." ...

Yup. That's why choosing Alabama as the initial attempt to unionize Amazon workers was not the best of strategic decisions for the organizers.

#8 | Posted by LampLighter at 2021-04-10 11:57 AM | Reply

Yup. That's why choosing Alabama as the initial attempt to unionize Amazon workers was not the best of strategic decisions for the organizers.

#8 | POSTED BY LAMPLIGHTER AT 2021-04-10 11:57 AM | FLAG: Well, no one has ever accused unions of brilliance, now have they?

#9 | Posted by MSgt at 2021-04-10 12:03 PM | Reply

"choosing Alabama as the initial attempt to unionize Amazon workers was not the best of strategic decisions"

You're too kind; it was monumentally stupid.

Even if Amazon will only open a center like this in RTW states, you don't start with the most hostile area, where the Amazon wages are already double the going rate. It's stupid, squared.

Alabama: RTW since 1954, creating the economic powerhouse you see today.

#10 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-10 12:05 PM | Reply

"Well, no one has ever accused unions of brilliance, now have they?"

You're joking, right? Every anti-Union screed is embedded with the assumption Union leaders are brilliant masterminds, to the point where they get to dictate terms, and their signatures are the only ones on the contract.

#11 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-10 12:12 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#9 | POSTED BY MSGT

The VAST majority of workers in America has benefited in some way from the existence of unions.

36 Reasons Why You Should Thank a Union
1. Weekends
2. All Breaks at Work (Lunch)
3. Paid vacations
4. FMLA
5. Sick Leave
6. Social Security
7. Minimum Wage
8. Civil Rights Act/ Title VII (Prohibits Discrimination)
9. 8- Hour work day
10. Overtime Pay
11. Child labor laws
12. Occupational Safety & health Act (OSHA)
13. 40-hour work Week
14. Worker's compensation (Worker's Comp)
15. Unemployment Insurance
16. Pensions
17. Workplace Safety standards and Regulations
18. Employer Health Care Insurance
19. Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
20. Wrongful Termination Laws
21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
22. Whistleblower Protection Laws
23. Employee Polygraph Protect Act
24. Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS)
25. Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
26. Sexual Harassment Laws
27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
28. Holiday Pay
29. Employer Dental, Life, and Vision insurance
30. Privacy Rights
31. Pregnancy and Parental Leave
32. Military Leave
33. The Right to Strike
34. Public Education for Children
35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011
36. Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States

districtcouncil20.org

#12 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2021-04-10 12:24 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 5

Carnegie had no problem cutting wages and increasing hours in jobs with extreme hazards.
Unions did a lot for you, even if you've never belonged.

Oh he built libraries. F off.

#13 | Posted by bruceaz at 2021-04-10 12:27 PM | Reply

Whatsleft said it better.

#14 | Posted by bruceaz at 2021-04-10 12:29 PM | Reply

Some people just don't want to be adults. They want a Paternalistic workplace of bosses with control and no control themselves. They don't want to be part of the means of production except as a serf beholden to the company. Unions aren't perfect,but they do give the rank and file a voice,and more importantly the ability to affect the conditions of employment.

Amazon wants pliable slaves. They seem to have found them in AL. Can't upset the boss man,he might do something. Take our jobs away by closing the plant etc. Pathetic.

#15 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2021-04-10 01:59 PM | Reply

Some people just don't want to be adults. They want a Paternalistic workplace of bosses with control and no control themselves. They don't want to be part of the means of production except as a serf beholden to the company. Unions aren't perfect,but they do give the rank and file a voice,and more importantly the ability to affect the conditions of employment.

Amazon wants pliable slaves. They seem to have found them in AL. Can't upset the boss man,he might do something. Take our jobs away by closing the plant etc. Pathetic.

#16 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2021-04-10 01:59 PM | Reply

Some people just don't want to be adults. They want a Paternalistic workplace of bosses with control and no control themselves. They don't want to be part of the means of production except as a serf beholden to the company. Unions aren't perfect,but they do give the rank and file a voice,and more importantly the ability to affect the conditions of employment.

Amazon wants pliable slaves. They seem to have found them in AL. Can't upset the boss man,he might do something. Take our jobs away by closing the plant etc. Pathetic.

#17 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2021-04-10 01:59 PM | Reply

Some people just don't want to be adults. They want a Paternalistic workplace of bosses with control and no control themselves. They don't want to be part of the means of production except as a serf beholden to the company. Unions aren't perfect,but they do give the rank and file a voice,and more importantly the ability to affect the conditions of employment.

Amazon wants pliable slaves. They seem to have found them in AL. Can't upset the boss man,he might do something. Take our jobs away by closing the plant etc. Pathetic.

#18 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2021-04-10 01:59 PM | Reply

Some people just don't want to be adults. They want a Paternalistic workplace of bosses with control and no control themselves. They don't want to be part of the means of production except as a serf beholden to the company. Unions aren't perfect,but they do give the rank and file a voice,and more importantly the ability to affect the conditions of employment.

Amazon wants pliable slaves. They seem to have found them in AL. Can't upset the boss man,he might do something. Take our jobs away by closing the plant etc. Pathetic.

#19 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2021-04-10 01:59 PM | Reply

This phone is a total Piece of ---------.

#20 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2021-04-10 02:00 PM | Reply

Should have bought a phone made by union workers.

Just reminded me, remember the garment workers commercial ?

Look for the union lable.

#21 | Posted by bruceaz at 2021-04-10 02:09 PM | Reply

Another favorite myth;
HR is an employees asset, my experience of seeing the head of HR one the floor "angel of death "

China
Our phone builders are living such a miserable existence that they are jumping out the windows to kill themselves.

HR response:
Put nets outside the windows.

#22 | Posted by bruceaz at 2021-04-10 02:19 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

#12 | POSTED BY WHATSLEFT AT 2021-04-10 12:24 PM | FLAG: | NEWSWORTHY 4: SO what have they done for 'the people' since their early years and why has membership dwindled to all time lows over the decades? Be real, all you care about is that the Union 'bosses' keep donating to your party even if the rank an file do not approve.

#23 | Posted by MSgt at 2021-04-11 12:00 AM | Reply

MSGT, you really should stop pretending you know anything about unions and their affects on the community, because you don't have the slightest clue.

We have a nation full of idiots like MSGT who don't really know anything about unionization but have lots of opinions based on stupidity.
No matter what these idiots tell you, unions benefit workers like it or not.

#24 | Posted by danni at 2021-04-11 03:44 AM | Reply

"They don't want to be part of the means of production except as a serf beholden to the company."

Is it better to be s serf beholden to a company, or a serf beholden to a union boss?

A good friends of mine is the president of a manufacturing company that's unionized. He writes the paychecks, but it's the unions who determine promotions and payment.

It doesn't matter that much to him, but it does limit his ability to promote good workers within the organization based on merit...which the union isn't as interested in.

My brother owns an electrical company that was union for about a decade. The employees voted to break with the union. It was a better deal for them.

#25 | Posted by madbomber at 2021-04-11 09:14 AM | Reply

Amazon pours a lot of R&D into anti-union effort. Remember the leaked Whole Foods document? Anybody?

"Store-risk metrics include average store compensation, average total store sales, and a "diversity index" that represents the racial and ethnic diversity of every store. Stores at higher risk of unionizing have lower diversity and lower employee compensation, as well as higher total store sales and higher rates of workers' compensation claims".

#26 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2021-04-11 11:25 AM | Reply

" Is it better to be s serf beholden to a company, or a serf beholden to a union boss?"

You've clearly never been in a union. The worker has an enormous say; all they have to do is speak up. In my decades of Union involvement, not only is the solo voice empowered, but in almost all cases it only takes one person with the best ideas, who usually leads/inspires the others. If anything, the solo voice is underscored, not ignored.

To equate someone who has literally chosen to empowered himself with someone who has no power at all, merely exposes the effect of BS talking points. In reality, a Union worker and a serf are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

#27 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-11 11:36 AM | Reply

This is what happens when we don't teach our own economic system to our youth. I've a sneaking suspicion this is done on purpose.

#28 | Posted by madscientist at 2021-04-11 01:11 PM | Reply

"He writes the paychecks, but it's the unions who determine promotions and payment."

Stop right there. He signed the agreement, representing 50% (at least) of the interests. Why is he not equally responsible for the results?"

"The employees voted to break with the union. It was a better deal for them."

That's because the company offered them a better deal. I wonder what they used as a standard?

In other words, despite breaking with the union, the union's presence ultimately got them a better standard of life.

#29 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-11 01:51 PM | Reply

#29

Agree just the threat of unionization will provide the employees with a better working environment. I'm willing to bet that those employees in Alabama have gotten some nice perks in the past year.

I pretty much called this result for a lot of the reasons Lamp pointed out. My son just started with Amazon and he is making 25% more than median pay in his area as a new hire. Selling a union is tough when it's already the best place to work in town.

#30 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2021-04-11 01:59 PM | Reply

"Selling a union is tough when it's already the best place to work in town."

Spot-on. Plus, it's not that difficult to pay a little more hourly, and make up for it via crappy or more expensive benefits. They know, generally speaking, the uninformed worker will only look at the hourly wage and stop there.

#31 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-11 02:05 PM | Reply

#27

You were in an accountants union?

#32 | Posted by madbomber at 2021-04-11 02:17 PM | Reply

"Stop right there. He signed the agreement, representing 50% (at least) of the interests. Why is he not equally responsible for the results?"

Because the unions don't promote on merit, at least not merits as it applies for the firm.

If my buddy had that authority, his employees would be promoted based on how well they worked for the company. Not how long they had been part of the union. It hurts the firm because it doesn't allow the employer to effective reward employees for hard work. He has the ability to provide some pay increases, but any meaningful promotion comes through the union. It also hurts those employees who work hard, but aren't promoted due to union policy.

#33 | Posted by madbomber at 2021-04-11 02:21 PM | Reply

"In other words, despite breaking with the union, the union's presence ultimately got them a better standard of life."

Depending on the union, there are actually some pretty significant benefits for employers. Most trade unions have a standardized training process, which ensures some level of labor quality. Union shops also have the ability to pull labor from other shops when big jobs come down.

But, it's employees, not employers who determine when a shop becomes unionized. And unfortunately being beholden to the union is not so different than being beholden to the mob.

#34 | Posted by madbomber at 2021-04-11 02:25 PM | Reply

" any meaningful promotion comes through the union"

Why couldn't this guy become management? That's a meaningful promotion isn't it?

#35 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-11 03:08 PM | Reply

"You were in an accountants union?"

Hardly. One day of classes and I hated it and quit. My unions were Actor's Equity, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actors' Guild. I served in volunteer leadership positions in all three.

#36 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-11 03:49 PM | Reply

^And just to show how one voice can effect change...

Back in the mid-to-late 80s I was my city's volunteer rep for Actor's Equity. I was on the regular quarterly national call one day, and they informed us the requirements to earn health care (something every actor must do every year), were going to increase by 2/3rds, overnight. Effectively, for my area, that meant only stage managers, and a small cadre of consistantly-working actors would qualify.

I called an emergency meeting of every working actor in town, and in a bunch of jammed rooms where you could hear a pin drop, I gave them the news. At some point, a fellow actor said, "So, there's nothing we can do, right?"

And I said: "On the contrary. We've lost everything, so there's everything we can do and everything we must do. Here's one idea: Actor's Equity has a rule: if any paid-up member writes a letter to Council (think Board of Directors), that letter must be read aloud during a Council meeting, and that supersedes all other business. Let's tell them how we feel."

Well, one other local had the same idea, and soon, the entire weekly Council meeting was taken up reading the letters, only to find a larger pile awaiting them for the following week. Before long, I got a frantic call from the Regional Director: "All right! Enough with the f^^kin' letters! We get it. WE GET IT! We're having a summit this weekend! Now NO MORE F^^KIN' LETTERS!" From that summit came Equity's current two-tiered plan, where a certain amount of work weeks gets you 6 months coverage, and almost twice as many weeks gets you a year's coverage.

Interestingly, what also emerged was a twist, since there is always a time when someone who will eventually earn a year, has qualified for 6 months. Rather than automatically onset, the system allows the participant to delay the onset of coverage. Knowing this, I accepted a show that not only qualified me, but would allow me to time the start and end of the coverage to segue to Cobra until Medicare kicked in. For someone like me, who would be thrown in a high-risk pool if the ACA ever collapsed, it was a great feeling to join the ranks of those who will never have to worry about affordable access to health insurance again.

Look what happened in this case: the smallest voices in the Union made the loudest difference. They forced changes in the structure of the coverage system, and ironically, a meeting I had in my home one night led to a provision which ended up benefitting me...30 years later.

None of us would have been so empowered without the Union.

#37 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-11 05:08 PM | Reply

"Most trade unions have a standardized training process, which ensures some level of labor quality. "

Being a Union leader over three decades, I went through a few strikes. In the first instance, the producers and hirers couldn't wait to get to that deep and talented non-union pool...and quickly discovered the pool was neither deep nor talented. By the second, the pool had grown in both numbers and skill.

The third involved a band of idiots who, in the relative infancy of cable, got elected, and then went on strike over the concept cable performers should be paid the same as network performers. Huh? How does that work in the equation? The revenue streams (were) worlds apart.

In the end, the band of idiots settled for less than they could've gotten the day they struck, and have since been voted out.

#38 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-11 05:34 PM | Reply

...and this I why these people work at Amazon and will soon be replaced by robots

#39 | Posted by earthmuse at 2021-04-11 06:44 PM | Reply

The drones were too late to save us from the pandemic.

#40 | Posted by snoofy at 2021-04-11 08:07 PM | Reply

My unions were Actor's Equity, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actors' Guild. I served in volunteer leadership positions in all three.

#36 | POSTED BY DANFORTH AT 2021-04-11 03:49 PM | FLAG:

I feel like if you asked people to start naming unions, only SAG from your list would get mentioned. I checked an SAG said 160k members. Much more prominent is the UAW, supporting benefits for 600,000 retirees with an active 360,000 labor force. In 2020 the DOJ investigated them, resulting in 12 union officials (2 former presidents) and 3 Chrysler executives being charged with racketeering, embezzlement, and tax evasion. It's such a toxic union brand that people who voted against the UAW union at VW's TN plant went ahead and created their own union.

#41 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2021-04-12 09:13 AM | Reply

The Amazon Union if it had passed would have at least been free of the long term corruption and nepotism inherent in long time Union systems.

#42 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2021-04-12 09:14 AM | Reply

"only SAG from your list would get mentioned."

Okay. That doesn't mean AEA and AFTRA aren't Unions. And while stage actors are rarely famous for that alone, almost every TV Star is a member of AFTRA, now SAG-AFTRA.

"I checked an SAG said 160k members. Much more prominent is the UAW"

You're right; UAW is larger. And they've had their share of problems. I got recruited for the my Local Board following an embezzlement scandal. The EO literally told me I was being asked "because you have a squeaky-clean reputation." Regardless, corrupt leadership doesn't default to the workers having no say.

"people who voted against the UAW union at VW's TN plant went ahead and created their own union."

IOW, the concept was accepted, and just the vehicle replaced. ( Pun intended.)

#43 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-12 11:04 AM | Reply

Regardless, corrupt leadership doesn't default to the workers having no say.

#43 | POSTED BY DANFORTH AT 2021-04-12 11:04 AM | FLAG:

Right, but that's why it's so unpopular. Particularly in the NE and Rust Belt it's synonymous with corruption and organized crime. It's a double edged sword in that yes, they got a union, but it's far smaller, optional, no forced dues, etc.

Unions don't apply to what I do it's all strange for me as a spectator.

#44 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2021-04-12 02:05 PM | Reply

"people who voted against the UAW union at VW's TN plant went ahead and created their own union."

VW wanted the Chattanooga plant unionized.

#45 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2021-04-12 03:17 PM | Reply

"Unions don't apply to what I do it's all strange for me as a spectator."

For the performing arts, it's a non-starter: Union affiliation is the difference between making it a career or a hobby. I'm sure they exist, but I've never met a non-union actor or non-union voice-over artist who got health insurance and a pension through their work, not to mention regulated work hours and grievance redress...all Union staples.

#46 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-12 05:00 PM | Reply

" being beholden to the union is not so different than being beholden to the mob."

WTF are you talking about? The mob?!? I've felt a bit constrained not being able to do some non-union productions over the decades...but I've never been or felt "beholden" to anyone or anything, nor have I as a Union leader EVER tried to make anyone else feel "beholden". I believe the benefits far, far outweigh any inconvenience, and I'm living proof.

But comparing being a Union member to being beholden to the "mob"...you've got to be out of your freakin' mind if you actually believe that.

#47 | Posted by Danforth at 2021-04-12 05:09 PM | Reply

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