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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Amazon Workers Form Official Union, After Years of Struggles

For the first time in the United States, a group of Amazon employees has pushed the internet behemoth to recognize a labor union.

Workers at an Amazon facility in New York voted 55 percent to join the Amazon Labor Union.

Chris Smalls, a former Amazon employee who made a reputation for himself campaigning against unsafe working conditions at the retailer during the epidemic, is the group’s leader.

Mr Smalls’ triumph is a big setback for Amazon, which had fought unionization hard.

However, in Alabama, where the corporation was facing a different union campaign, the company looked to have fended off activists in a tight race that might yet be overturned by challenged votes.

The two elections, taken together, are a watershed moment for activists who have long criticized Amazon’s labor standards as the country’s second largest employer.

Mr Smalls appeared after the vote count exhausted but ecstatic, cracking open a bottle of champagne given to him by fans.

“We did everything it needed to connect with these employees,” he told the audience, recalling a against-the-odds effort that began with “two tables, two seats, and a tent” and was funded through an internet fundraising.

“I hope everyone is paying attention now since a lot of people were skeptical of us before.”

Amazon issued a statement saying it was unhappy by the result in New York and that it was considering its options. It also accused regulators of attempting to sway the vote in their favor.

The company stated, “We feel that having a direct contact with the company is better for our employees.” “We’re considering our alternatives, including filing objections based on the [National Labor Relations Board’s] improper and unfair influence.”

Amazon’s defeat by Mr Smalls and his team of worker-organizers was a “very major event,” according to Rebecca Givan, a professor of labor studies at Rutgers University, who called it a “David and Goliath narrative” that defied the odds.

But she told him that when it comes to contract talks, he’ll be up against it again.

“Amazon will do all it can to erase this achievement, to disband these employees, and to halt the momentum that will certainly follow this victory,” she said.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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