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Amazon is on edge over Alabama union vote

April 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22%. 2 min read.

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 30, 2021 file photo, A banner encouraging workers to vote in labor balloting is shown at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, have voted on whether or not to form a union. But the process to tally all the ballots and determine an outcome will continue for a second week, according to the National Labor Relations Board, a government agency that???s conducting the election. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)

For more than two decades, Amazon has bulldozed over bricks-and-mortar businesses, hired and churned through vast numbers of workers and even pitted cities against each other to bid for its second headquarters, all in service to its seemingly bottomless thirst for growth and satisfying customers. Its dominance was only further cemented in the last year by the pandemic, as households across the country leaned on the company for deliveries.

After Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin pointed out that the hourly pay "doesn't make you a 'progressive workplace' when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles," the company effectively kickstarted an entire news cycle with its response from a verified corporate Twitter account: "You don't really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?" Publications posted stories about Amazon drivers urinating in bottles and defecating in bags on the job.

And in response to a recent CNN Business story about what comes next in the Bessemer effort once the final results of the union vote are announced, Amazon responded with a statement calling the president of the union mobilizing the warehouse workers the "chief disinformation officer. " In a later, separate statement, the company hit at the union, by citing declining membership as the impetus driving the union president to "misrepresent the facts. "

Likewise, Daniel Hanley, a reporter-policy analyst with the Open Markets Institute, an advocacy group critical of Big Tech's influence and power, said Amazon "fears having a union because it knows it will lose the ability to exploit workers and that its operations will have checks and balances by the people who endure its decisions -- as it should be. "

(In a statement to CNN Business, Amazon's Knox said: "The fact is that Amazon already offers what unions are requesting for employees: industry-leading pay, comprehensive benefits from the first day on the job, opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment. ")

As American Economic Liberties Project's Matthew Stoller put it recently, Amazon may be acting like "public jerks on Twitter" because the company is "confident they will win the union election. "

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