Amazon Syndicate’s Success Could Point To A New Labor Playbook

Critics typically agree that the campaigns help revive support for higher wages, even if workers fail to unionize. Its proponents say the goal is to make a company or industry-wide impact, rather than just a few individual stores. They point to some developments. pending california bill would regulate fast food wages and working conditions as signs of progress.

In other cases, workers perceived the limitations of established unions and the advantages of going it alone. Joseph Fink, who works at an Amazon Fresh grocery store in Seattle with about 150 employees, said workers there reached out to several unions during the summer trying to organize, but the unions decided to focus on gaining recognition through National Labor Relations. Board elections will delay resolution of complaints involving sexual harassment and threats to health and safety.

When workers raised the idea of ​​holding protests or strikes as an alternative, union officials responded cautiously. “We got a response that if we speak up, if we defend our rights publicly, we will be terminated,” Mr. Fink said. “It was a self-defeating narrative.”

Workers decided to form a union on their own without official approval from the NLRB, a model known as “solidarity union”. whose roots precedes the modern workers’ movement.

For workers seeking NLRB certification, doing so independently of an established union also has advantages, such as confusing the talking points of employers and consultants who often portray unions as “third parties” seeking to accumulate worker dues.

At Amazon, the strategy was similar to sending a conventional army into battle against the guerrillas: Talking points fell, organizers said, as coworkers realized the union was made up of other employees rather than foreigners.

“A worker comes up to me and looks at me, then sees that I have a badge and says, ‘Do you work here?’ they say. They ask this in the most surprising way,” says Angelika Maldonado, an Amazon employee in Staten Island who chairs the union’s workers committee. “’Yes, I work here.’ That makes us relatable from the very beginning.”

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