Greetings from the Burgh, where we are pumped and in the zone covering the latest developments in the Amazon unionization effort in Bessemer, Alabama.
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Unions Launch Petition Urging Biden Admin to Step Into Amazon Unionization Fight
The Amazon unionization fight in Alabama has been raging for months, but despite repeated questions from reporters, the White House has yet to comment directly on whether President Biden supports the effort.
The White House has so far refused to get involved in the fight, and in interviews with major news outlets, they have repeatedly refused to endorse the unionization effort at Amazon.
The White House told Politico this week that the Biden Administration was declining involvement because the case might come before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). However, labor law experts say that given the executive authority and independence of the NLRB, there is nothing legally preventing the White House from getting involved.
However, a group of unions and progressive groups have sent a letter to the White House asking them to get directly involved in supporting unionization efforts at Amazon in Alabama.
“During the 2020 campaign, you vowed to be ‘the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,’ ” wrote the group. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make that pledge a reality. We urge you to lend all your support to the Amazon workers in Bessemer. They deserve nothing less.”
For more on unions mobilizing to get the White House involved, check out Dave Jamieson’s latest at HuffPost.
Poll: 69% of Voters Support Amazon Unionization Effort
According to a recent poll by Data for Progress, 69% of voters support unionization efforts at Amazon in Alabama.
According to the survey, “unionization for Amazon employees has a 72-point margin of support among Democrats, a 49-point margin of support among Independents, and a 24-point margin of support among Republicans.”
With massive support behind the unionization efforts, a coalition of union and progressive groups have launched a petition calling on the Biden Administration to get directly involved in unionization efforts at Amazon.
Many political observers think that Biden could pick up disaffected voters, even some working-class Republicans, by getting directly involved in the Amazon union vote.
“I think it would be a good idea for any administration official to weigh in when workers are looking for fair representation,” veteran Southern union and political organizer Chuck Rocha told Payday Report. “Politically this is a great way to win back working-class voters.”
Amazon Touting Support for $15-An-Hour Wage in Anti-Union Literature
Like many anti-union employers who are trying to persuade their workers to vote against unionizing, Amazon is making a big full-court media press to argue they are in favor of supporting workers, but they just don’t believe a union is the proper solution.
With $15-an-hour legislation now being debated in Congress, Amazon is running ads in major media outlets touting its own support for legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour, citing that it already pays its workers $15-an-hour. (In Bessemer, the average wage is actually slightly higher than $16-an-hour according to the union RWDSU.)
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided to lead,” Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos said in a statement earlier this year.
However, as Edward Ongweso Jr. points out in a must-read article at Vice, Amazon’s wages for warehouse workers are actually below the national average.
El Paso Nursing Assistants Walk Off the Job
In El Paso, Texas certified nursing assistants at Del Sol Medical Center and Las Palmas, both owned by HCA Healthcare Inc. (one of the largest private hospital corporations in the country) walked off the job as they are demanding that the hospital increase their wages in union negotiations with the SEIU.
According to SEIU, more than 54% of nursing assistants at the hospital make less than $15 an hour.
“On top of worrying about whether I’ll get sick or bring COVID home to my family, I worry whether I’ll have enough money to keep the lights on and pay the rent and whether I can afford to keep doing the job I love,” Sandra Cardenas, a food service worker at Del Sol, told KTSM earlier this month.
Molson Bringing in Scabs to Bust Union in Toronto During Lockout
Finally, in Canada, Molson brewery is bringing in scabs to keep making beer while they lock out more than 300 members of the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers Local 325 in Toronto.
The ads, posted on a number of websites, including LinkedIn and Indeed, are a sign the company is playing hardball in its dispute with the Canadian Union of Brewery and General Workers Local 325, according to labour advocate Deena Ladd.
“They’re showing they’re playing hard ball. It’s not a good look for them,” said Ladd, executive director of the Workers Action Centre.
A posting for “brewing operator” said the successful candidate would have the opportunity to “work within a World Class Manufacturing environment that actively supports and benefits their community.” The temporary jobs would pay $16.94 per hour, according to the postings. A permanent brewing worker at the top of the wage scale earns $35.35 an hour.
That’s all for today. Keep sending tips, story ideas, links, criticism, and feedback to [email protected].
Love & Solidarity,