By Spencer Bokat-Lindell
Source: The New York Times
Last week, workers at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island delivered one of the biggest victories for organized labor in a generation when they voted to form a union — the first such organizing effort to succeed at any Amazon work site in the United States and a stunning upset for a world-straddling corporate giant long criticized for its coercive labor practices.
The win was all the more striking for arriving at an otherwise bleak moment in the history of the American labor movement: Last year, the share of workers in unions dropped to 10.3 percent, down half a percentage point from 2020 and the lowest rate in decades. Is the Amazon victory a potential sign of that trend’s reversal, or an exception that proves the rule of workers’ waning power? Here’s what people are saying.
A very unusual union campaign
As Alex Press writes in Jacobin, the Amazon Labor Union’s success “goes against much of what passes as common sense within the labor movement.” Conventionally, people looking to organize their workplaces tend to join already established unions so that they can take advantage of their institutional knowledge and financial and legal resources. (Those resources can be particularly useful against a company like Amazon, which spent more than $4.3 million just on anti-union consultants nationwide last year.)