From today’s Forbes Online:
Amazon Workers At JFK8, A Warehouse Located On Staten Island In New York City, Voted To Form A Union With 55% Of Voters In Favor Of Unionization, According To The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This Is The First Successful Major Union Drive For The Retail Sector In Several Decades And Lands A Wake-Up Call To Other Retailers That Want To Avoid A Unionized Worker Composition.
The number of U.S. workers in unions dropped 10.3% last year but the recent vote to unionize even one warehouse at a retail behemoth like Amazon is a big win for labor unions and may help raise the profile of organized unions as a path for better working conditions, benefits and wages. These promises were made to the employees of the Amazon warehouse by the newly established Amazon Labor Union, an independent union whose first win may be this warehouse unionization of the largest online retailer in America. Not a small feat.
Even though the successful unionization vote has been announced, there is a long process that will ensue before a contract is actually agreed upon. The vote is one small step for Amazon workers and one large step for organized unions.
The union drive was run in a more contemporary manner using social media including TikTok and Twitter, along with insider workers boosting union messaging. In more traditional union drives from established union organizations, the union representatives and professional organizers are not allowed on the premises to campaign, but in the case of the Amazon Labor Union which was founded and is run by a former Amazon employee, many campaigners worked in the warehouse during the union drive. Employees tend to listen to their co-workers and may feel that they are more empathetic, trusted and understanding of worker needs.
Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee who started the union and is currently the president, was fired by the company for helping to lead a walkout of workers in March of 2020 as a protest of unsafe working conditions during the pandemic. Some employees also felt that the productivity measurements and quotas were unfair and unrealistic. Scorned employee Smalls was able to take on one of the world’s largest retailers.
Read the complete story here.