Maybe the Amazon Employees in Bessemer Just Didn't Want a Union


A worker gathers items for delivery from the warehouse floor at Amazon’s distribution center in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2013. (Ralph D. Freso/Reuters)

Did the union drive at Amazon’s warehouse in Alabama fail because there was a USPS mailbox outside of the facility? Or did it fail because the employees didn’t want to form a union? The New York Times suggests that, astonishingly, it may be the latter:

William and Lavonette Stokes, who started work at the Bessemer warehouse in July, said the union had failed to convince them how it could improve their working conditions. Amazon already provides good benefits, relatively high pay that starts at $15 an hour and opportunities to advance, said the couple, who have five children.

“Amazon is the only job I know where they pay your health insurance from Day 1,” Ms. Stokes, 52, said. She added that she had been turned off by how organizers tried to cast the union drive as an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement because most of the workers are Black.

“This was not an African-American issue,’’ said Ms. Stokes, who is Black. “I feel you can work there comfortably without being harassed.”

The vote could lead to a rethinking of strategy inside the labor movement.

Given the RWDSU’s reaction to the outcome, I wouldn’t count on it.





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