Staff At Amazon Warehouse In Alabama Reject Bid To Unionize : NPR

Those that hoped staff at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama would vote to unionize try to determine the place to go from right here, now that staff rejected a union drive.


Amazon staff who favor a union acquired collectively for a rally in Birmingham, Ala., final night time. They have been hoping to have a good time, however they ended up commiserating as a result of staff at a close-by warehouse in Bessemer voted 2-to-1 to not type a union. Amazon, I ought to say, is one among NPR’s monetary supporters. Stephan Bisaha is a reporter at member station WBHM in Birmingham, and he was on the rally yesterday. Good morning, Stephan.


KING: So what was the temper? What did folks let you know?

BISAHA: So organizers and staff mentioned they have been fairly shocked and dissatisfied by Friday’s consequence. However by Sunday’s rally, they have been sounding defiant and saying they have been prepared for an additional struggle. Audio system acquired up on the truck mattress of this large crimson Dodge and fired up the group. Organizer Michael Foster mentioned he was harm by the Amazon vote consequence however wasn’t giving up.


MICHAEL FOSTER: All of us must be seeking to get into some good hassle, OK?


FOSTER: It’s our God-given proper to face up in opposition to being mistreated.

BISAHA: One of many folks I spoke to within the crowd was a pro-union Amazon warehouse employee who traveled right here from Pennsylvania. He mentioned many staff again at his warehouse felt demoralized by the vote, however he was prepared for spherical two.

KING: However did he say what spherical two would appear to be? Did anybody?

BISAHA: Nicely, they’re not likely positive. There may be this authorized struggle that is developing. The union’s accusing Amazon of some soiled tips, together with intimidating staff. And so they say they’re going to file fees with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board. The factor is, the Nationwide Labor Relations Board is taken into account fairly toothless on these issues. Any authorized problem will not be determined for months. And even when the union wins, it seemingly will not result in any repercussions extra critical than Amazon hanging up a number of flyers of their warehouse.

KING: OK, so there’s not quite a lot of hope for overturning the end in Bessemer. What do you assume this says about union organizing extra broadly in a spot like Bessemer and Alabama usually?

BISAHA: Yeah, nicely, the factor is, it is not not possible for unions to win, even within the South. It occurs yearly. However the ones that do win are usually at smaller workplaces with lower than 100 staff. What this current vote helped present was how onerous it’s for a union to win in opposition to a giant company like Amazon, with all its sources. So U.S. Congressman Andy Levin from Michigan spoke at Sunday’s rally. He says Washington must cross laws to even the taking part in discipline between large firms and unions.

ANDY LEVIN: This was an enormous training for the American folks and the folks of the world at how, in America, staff do not even have the liberty to type unions and discount collectively. Corporations can simply crush them.

BISAHA: So the Home lately handed a invoice that will make it simpler for unions to really get into workplaces, and now that is within the palms of the Senate.

KING: And I do know that final night time you talked to some individuals who mentioned, OK, look; the struggle over the Amazon warehouse, we could have misplaced it, however we modified in some methods, yeah?

BISAHA: Yeah, yeah. There are some private wins that got here together with this union vote. So I spoke with one of many co-founders of the native Black Lives Matter chapter right here. They acquired very concerned with organizing most of the pro-union rallies right here. And he informed me that acquired him way more concerned with labor organizing, actually made this connection between Black Lives Matter and the labor motion. And he is now even taking calls from locations like Georgia, the place poultry staff want to Birmingham for assist with their very own struggle to unionize.

KING: Stephan Bisaha with WBHM in Birmingham. Thanks, Stephan.

BISAHA: Thanks.

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