Tag Archives: unionization

NYC and Minnesota Amazon Warehouse Employees Push for Unionization

A group of employees has come together to create a unionization campaign at Amazon’s recently opened Staten Island fulfillment center. They have expressed concerns with safety, inadequate pay, and lengthy shifts with minimal breaks.

On December 12, a few pro-union Amazon employees attended a press conference at City Hall, alongside activists and elected officials. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer criticized the government’s deal with Amazon asking, “What do the people get, and what are the workers going to get? Where is the labor agreement?”

In response to these questions, Amazon’s head of public policy, Brian Huseman, told City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, “We absolutely respect the right of any employee to join a union.” The council was also informed that Amazon plans on working with a unionized construction crew for the Queens development.

Pro-union employees have been working with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which has supported organizing at Whole Foods (acquired by Amazon last year). “There’s never been greater leverage—if taxpayers are giving Amazon $3 billion, then taxpayers have the right to demand that Amazon stop being a union-busting company,” says RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “If Amazon continues its union-busting activities in New York, [the governor and mayor] should call off the deal.”

Meanwhile, on December 14, about 100 workers marched and chanted “hear our voice,” outside of Amazon’s Shakopee, Minnesota, warehouse. Workers expressed frustration for unfair working conditions and being poorly treated. One employee expressed his irritation, “We needed secured jobs, we are not robots.”

Graduate Students Fear Reversal on Unionization

Graduate student unionization efforts at private colleges have become more urgent following the election of President Donald Trump.

Even though in 2016 the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) ruled that students may unionize, many fear that they will eventually lose that very right due to Trump’s appointment of two Republicans to the NLRB. The NLRB has a history of flip-flopping on the issue over the past two decades.

Proposed Ban Designed to Deter Unionization

Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister’s pledge to make it much more difficult for workers to organize a union amounts to stacking the deck against workers. Requiring two separate votes—one through signing union cards and a second by secret ballot—has a negative effect on rates of union certification.

Pallister has said he’ll reverse provincial law by banning automatic certification, or card check as it’s commonly known. Under current Manitoba law, if a minimum of 65% of workers vote to join a union by signing a union card, then a union qualifies to be automatically certified as the official bargaining agent for the workplace. This can only happen after every signed union card is submitted to the Labor Board and a tripartite review (by worker and management representatives and an independent third party) checks every card, and ensures the law is followed. The proposed ban moves away from a fair and balanced approach to labor relations, which has led to a period of significant labor peace in Manitoba over the last decade and a half.