Amazon.com Workers Reject Union

By: Kristin Tate
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Amazon.com has managed to avoid unions since its creation in 1994. On Wednesday night, the mega-company’s workers rejected a union by a vote of 21 to 6.


The purpose of the proposed union would have been to demand higher wages and the right to strike. It would have been formed under the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW).

Mary Osako, a spokeswoman from Amazon, said, “With today’s vote against third-party representation, our employees have made it clear that they prefer a direct connection with Amazon. This direct connection is the most effective way to understand and respond to the wants and needs of our employees. Amazon’s culture and business model are based on rapid innovation, flexibility, and open lines of direct communication between managers and associates.”

After the union was shot down, IAMAW accused Amazon of pressuring their workers to not unionize.

John Carr, an IMAW spokesman wrote in an email, “The workers at Amazon faced intense pressure from managers and anti-union consultants hired to suppress this organizing drive. We responded when these workers initially reached out to us, and we’ll continue to work with them to pursue the collective bargaining rights they’re entitled to under federal labor law.”

Carr argued that unions are instrumental in providing “fair” wages and are key to creating “an effective safety committee in the fast-paced workplace.”

But many argue that unions hurt taxpayers, customers, and even employees due to rigid rules that do not respond effectively to the fluidity of the free marketplace.

John Stossel wrote, “When companies compete for workers, they get higher wages and better working conditions… [Unions] slow growth. And growth — increasing productivity, which leads to higher wages and new opportunities — is what is best for workers.”

Often, unions are more effective in right-to-work states, where employees are not forced to join a union or pay dues. In such states, unions exist through free association.

What do you think — were Amazon.com’s workers smart to reject the IMAW union?

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Kristin Tate is a multi-media reporter for Breitbart News and BenSwann.com. Dedicated to fearless journalism, she regularly works on undercover stings with James O'Keefe to reveal government waste, abuse, and fraud. Tate was a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Chapter President and Founder. She will continue to fight tirelessly for individual liberty and free markets through new media. Visit Kristin's website at www.TheLibertarianChick.com.
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  • SickOfTheStupid

    Today’s labor unions are not the same as the ones that gave us weekends , 40 hour work weeks and worker representation they are more akin to the mob busting heads labor unions of the old people got killed days.I used to be a union member and officer but it only took a couple of years to see the light . The only thing our union fought for was their dues and assessments, at the national level they did nothing but support political candidates that actually worked against our industry and corruption theft and fraud where the norm for our union representatives.I dropped my card fought the blacklisting and intimidation and learned the lesson Organized labor unions did not want us to learn……………..collective bargaining with out the union frauds is the solution , we can negotiate our own contracts with out the unions keep our money in our pockets and have fewer criminals with their hands in our pockets pensions and business . .

    • ap411

      Very well said!

    • Qari

      Weekends and 40 hour work weeks weren’t made possible by unions, but the advance of capital goods so an hour worked was worth more. Capitalism naturally progresses to offer more leisure time. What unions did was ask companies to provide these things under the threat of violence, and consequently lead to a lot of unemployment. In so far as they are allowed to use force, they were never good. At best, they can be neutral, at worst, they can reduce the workforce but offer those still working better wages.

  • tiredofrepsandlibs

    Funny, but, as much as I think unions aren’t as good as the used to be, I still think they are better than not having them. I work in a company where there people in the union get annual raises, and no one in my non-union area had had one in 5 years. The company doesn’t negotiate with us; they just tell us the way it’s going to be. Not to say we don’t make decent wages, but it’s considerably less than what I made for doing the same job in a union shop.

    • SickOfTheStupid

      Sack up! you have all the same rights and privileges has the unions and more importantly you have the Department of labor lawyers to back you up ! I work in the entertainment biz and for the most part the unions have a stranglehold on it yet our non union crews demand higher wages and better bennie’s than our union counterparts yet we are in higher demand and often turn away contracts due to lack of manpower or just need time off.

    • Qari

      They have legal rights to do things that you can’t. That is all. They also use violence and the law turns a blind eye to it.

    • Lord Mannyrossa

      Go into your boss’ office and demand a raise. No raise in 5 years is odd at best. If you go in and ask and aren’t a total sack of crap at the job, they will give you a raise. For a worker who has been on the job 5 years it will ALWAYS be cheaper to pay you more than it will be for them to train a new hire who doesn’t know what the hell they are doing. Man up. Demand the raise and be happy that you haven’t been paying 5 years of union dues that have no doubt eaten up any ‘raise’ your union counterparts have enjoyed.

  • robinp21601

    27 people bothered to show up and vote. Unless Amazon’s workforce is smaller than I thought that alone speaks volumes. I have been a union member twice. Never by choice. I think the unions were necessary a century ago when safety was an issue. They have now become redundant.

    • cbunk

      I’m pretty sure they are reps chosen by vote

      • SickOfTheStupid

        the link shows it was only workers in the one shop/plant that the union tried to organize not all Amazon employees.

  • Chris Harkins

    as a former Teamster I can tell you these unions are only there for YOUR MONEY so they can buy MORE POLITICIANS! They could give a rats ass about you the worker or your family. They breed the culture of laziness with the mantra “I don’t have to do that, it’s not my job” They perpetuate more strikes that force companies to close their doors due to unrealistic demands causing MORE UNEMPLOYMENT! The best way to deal with unfair employers??? QUIT and find another job that treats you well! Its not paying into UNIONS! The bad employers along with the bad companies will ceast to exist if nobody will work for them due to unfair practices. If you want to be guaranteed a good paying job, then do YOUR JOB and EARN your pay, just showing up and punching a time clock doesn’t justify anything! Be productive and see what happens!

    • WilSpeaking

      As a current member of SEIU I have to agree with the “former Teamster.” For many years I have felt that our union has been working “hand-n-glove” with our employer to keep our wages low and diminish our retirement benefits. As an added bonus even if we don’t join the union we still have to pay a “representation fee.”

  • Billy The Kid

    So, there are ONLY 27 employees at Amazon?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=788145510 Earl Cameron

      It’s called a ratio

      • Jim Shannon

        “by a vote of 21 to 6″ … so, either poor writing or a weird ratio…

        I’m guessing it’s some little bitty shop somewhere in Amazon that voted it down. And that was the vote count.

    • POA

      “A small group of maintenance and repair technicians at an Amazon warehouse ”

      It was some of the techs in a warehouse. Not the entire company.

    • Petronius Arbiter

      There were 2 million abstentions

  • Element Omega

    Very smart to reject. Smart employees it seems.

  • Chip Saunders

    This article is not very complete. I work at Amazon in one of the Arizona warehouses, and we were unaware of any vote by anyone. This obviously happened in a specific state only. It would help to know which one.

    • POA

      If you noticed a link on with the word “rejected”, you would have went to the full(er) story. Most links are within the words and you need to click on them to go to whatever it refers to.

      “A small group of maintenance and repair technicians at an Amazon warehouse in Middletown, Del., voted 21-6 against joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.”

      http://business.time.com/2014/01/16/how-amazon-crushed-the-union-movement/

      • Draken

        Perhaps Ms. Tate should have made that fact a little more clear in her story, versus imply that the company as a whole rejected unionization. Thought I suppose she is not the only one guilty of such as the headline for the TIME article is rather misleading as well.

  • Liberius Lucanus

    “John Carr, an IMAW spokesman wrote in an email, “The workers at Amazon
    faced intense pressure from managers and anti-union consultants hired to
    suppress this organizing drive.”
    And what about you and your unions tactics about beating the living daylights out of people who don’t actually met you eye to eye? I am sure you are equally incensed. But then again……..
    Oh and of course allegedly.

  • Dr. deState University

    I want nothing to do with unions. By state law, they take 1% of my pay anyway. What have they done? I understand that years ago when the university where I teach had the lowest tuition in America, all spouses and children of faculty received automatic tuition waivers, but the union officials argued that it was a worthless benefit and demanded to negotiate it away for what they valued more. Then when tuition rose high, they promised to get back family tuition waivers. But what did we get? They got benefits for spouses and “domestic partners”, In other words, things are only working out for the homosexual agenda. Guess who’s running the union?

  • http://annonusa.tumblr.com/ Joe AnnonUSA

    Unionizing will destroy Amazon.
    Unions had a purpose many years ago, and still do in some industries, but today they serve only to drive up costs and stifle productivity.
    Today workers and employees of large companies have the court of Public Opinion on their side, coupled with media outlets that are on the lookout for Buzz words and forced “politically correct” browbeating of corporate interests.

  • Tim

    Without knowing a lot more information (numbers, profits, pay, benefits), I cannot comfortably know whether unionization would be the correct way to go or not. Certainly, it’s the law, as to whether workers want to hire a union to represent them at the bargaining table. Unions, at one time in our history, served a good purpose and we need to leave the door open as to whether workers want to have that representation.

    There is nothing wrong with hiring an “agent” to represent you in negotiating a contract for services. In effect, that’s what bringing a union into the mix does. However, there are possible problems with unionization. If workers already have a wage they enjoy and feel they have a “fair” piece to the profit-pie (given their “role”), then there is no need for a union.

    Right-to-work states have ‘one’ really bad problem. They allow a company to “fire” anyone they want at any time without a problem. However, this is not much different than violating a contractual agreement. A union will force a company to prove it has standing in the firing of the worker and is forced to ‘prove’ the worker was not doing the job (ie, the ‘worker’ breached their contract).

    This is a country of laws and our courts are setup to settle contractual arguments/disputes. If you are a Libertarian, then if Unionization is setup correctly and handled correctly, then there is no fundamental principle violated in our ethics regarding Constitutionality.

    Unions, as “Representatives”, in and of themselves aren’t “bad” as a concept. In practice those unions can be bad OR good. People should look at what a union offers and decide whether or not it’s in their best interests to be “represented” by someone else for their compensation.

    • Lisa Vacula

      We have looked and decided.. it is not a good fit, we are already represented by so many wonderful people in leadership roles. The people who I have seen get fired, are justified in being fired, one person has just been fired for slacking off for a long time, this person deserved not even to be hired, but they took him on and it got worse.. this person played the system as long as they could, it took almost 3 years, so for a union to justify the firing, they would have had to drag this case out for another year or so, while they stayed at work and cost the company hard man hours.. when it was done in house in just 45 minutes.

  • Lord Mannyrossa

    Unions care about 1 thing: dues paying members. They don’t care about the interests and needs of those dues paying members, they only care about having as many of those members as possible to fill their corporate coffers (yes, forget not they are incorporated like the ‘evil’ corporations they so often rail against). They are a glorified PAC.

  • soulsabr

    I’ve had the displeasure of working with union workers in a right to work state. I can saw without doubt I will never, ever join a union.

    • Joseph Slabaugh

      Say?

  • Sheba123

    As an 8 year employee of amazon, unions would not be good for the company or the employees. Amazon bases it’s wages by the local market and are in the top 30% percent in wages for like jobs. And all amazon full time employees are stock holders. And amazon has one of the top health insurance policy’s offered by company’s. Also offers to pay for and employees collage up to 3 years for any field for just 1 year of service. How many companies you know do that? Yes everyone wants more money we are human are we not? Amazon had lots of ways for associates to be heard. Voice of associate board, open door policy. Unions have been circling amazon since day one. They don’t pass because amazon does more for it’s employees then a union can. Not to say amazon is perfect. But it’s better with out unions. Employees have more to lose with a union then to gain.

  • Lisa Vacula

    As an Amazon employee, when you get the chance to work directly face to face with you ops manager and general manager.. and all the other bosses, there is no comparison to getting things done faster… to have to go through someone else to do that, takes time, money and energy, it is a waste of time and I have no time for that, it want direct yes or no, it is faster, quicker and saves alot of energy. No Union would NOT BE A GOOD FIT for Amazon because of the pace we have to work .. and NO ONE will EVER KNOW.. what it takes to be an Amazon worker except a fellow Amazon worker.. the union will never understand, all they know is take… does Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh ring a bell.. I say the workers were very smart to reject the union.