For five months, the retail, wholesale, and department store union positioned itself as the savior for workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, but workers have now said no, thank you. With a preliminary vote of 71% to 29% on Thursday and Friday, workers rejected the option of union formation and declined to join the left’s aggressive campaign against employers.
In the vote, monitored by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, 55% of the 5,876 eligible employees cast votes, a higher turnout than the union forecast. The vote lasted almost two months through March 29, giving workers ample time to consider their choice.
The result is an embarrassing blow to Big Labor and its allies, who viewed the effort as the start of an organizational wave at Amazon and other major employers. Union President Stuart Appelbaum told the press during the vote that the retail giant “does not respect the health and safety of its employees, not even their human dignity”. He added that “Amazon has 800 warehouses in the United States so the battle is just beginning.”
Politicians threw their weight into the fight, almost making it a national cause. President Biden told workers in a video, “Your health, your safety, higher wages,” a rare intervention by a seated president in a union vote. Senator Bernie Sanders approached the warehouse workers and asked them to “take over the richest man in the world,” a reference to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio also advocated union action in Bessemer in response to Amazon’s censorship of conservative books and other sins. But he could pay more attention to workers if he wanted the GOP to be the party of the working class.