This is why the incorporation in Amazon is encountering an obstacle

As organizers prepare for a second union election in Amazon’s warehouse in Alabama, one of the biggest challenges facing them is the possibility that many of the people employed there today – May not be there when the vote takes place.

Amazon is recording a turnover of 100% at many of its facilities before and during the epidemic, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal.

During the first elections in Bessemer, union officials estimated that in two months, at least 1,000 workers had left – during the election period. The facility had about 6,000 eligible voters at the time and about half of them voted. Some of the Bessemer employees the newspaper contacted during the first vote no longer work there.

Amazon has said that many of the employees who leave, return and apply to be hired again. An Amazon spokeswoman said there are “workers who stay with us throughout the year and others who choose to work with us for several months to make a little extra income when they need it.”

While federal officials have yet to set a date for the election, Amazon and the union’s organizers have begun preparations for the second election, and have held meetings and negotiations at the local level regarding the election procedures expected to take place in Bessemer in 2022.

About 71 percent of Amazon employees who went to the polls in the first election voted not to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Association (RWDSU). The company said at the time that this victory showed that employees recognize its efforts to be attentive to them and get better. She also pointed to the $ 15-per-hour minimum wage, double the Alabama minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour, which is also the federal minimum wage.

The union accused Amazon of intimidating workers, and the company denied this. A senior federal official ordered a by-election in Bessemer warehouse in November after finding that Amazon had violated employment laws in the first election. Amazon recently reached an agreement with the National Board of Labor Relations, making it easier for its employees to incorporate. Under the agreement, the company will notify the warehouse workers today and in the past of their rights to incorporate, and will allow the National Council to make the company responsible if it violates the rules again.

Frequent employee turnover has been a problem for Amazon for a long time. Initially employees are attracted to the company because of its reputation, salary and benefits, however many leave relatively quickly, so one can learn from conversations with employees today and in the past. Some employees said that the rapid pace of requirements on Amazon is causing them to erode quickly. In addition, the company is recording a higher-than-average national injury rate in the U.S., according to federal employment data.

A union may cause Amazon to correct downtime, performance targets and other policies, but high employee turnover among their hourly workers threatens any success the RWDSU hopes to achieve in the second vote, employment experts and election organizers say. Amazon said it opposes unions because it prefers to negotiate directly with employees.

Some workers who initially did not support the union are reconsidering their position. Melissa Charlton Myers, who voted against the union in April, said she now tends to support it because it would be “a change for the better that we need here.”

Other workers are not so sure. Samantha Stewart, who voted against the union in the first election, said she did not believe the union would bring further benefits. Stuart earns $ 21.80 an hour and participated in the higher education program run by the company. “I do not see what an association will help,” she said. “I have never had better conditions anywhere else where I worked.”

Amazon’s high employee turnover may help the company when it comes to union voting, said Catherine Fisk, a law professor specializing in employment at the University of California, Berkeley. The turnover makes it difficult for unions to find support among workers, Fisk said. In New York, an initiative to form a separate union was slowed in part because its organizers said many of the workers who initially supported the initiative had since stopped working at the facilities. “If it’s a constantly changing group of people who work there for a relatively short time, they don’t have a chance to hear enough from the union about why it might be in their interest to support it,” Fisk said.

In November, a senior Labor Council official ruled that Amazon’s installation of a mailbox outside the Basmer warehouse at the time of the vote could have made employees think Amazon was playing a role in collecting and counting votes. It was eventually discovered that Amazon did not see the votes sent through the box, and the company said it installed it there for the benefit of employees.

RWDSU has been organizing employees at Bessemer since April, and union supporters have said they want to create a better standard of work for Amazon. While many warehouse workers have left, the main organizers are still working there, according to the union. RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum said Amazon employees should have more power in the workplace “and it only comes from incorporation.”

Since the last vote, Amazon has introduced bonuses of up to $ 3,000 to new employees and raised the starting salary, which currently stands at more than $ 18 per hour on average. The company also added funding for higher education for employees who have been with the company for at least 90 days.

By Editor

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