Supporters of Big Labor like President Joe Biden cheer the successful vote to unionize Amazon workers, this time at an 8,000 worker warehouse on Staten Island. A couple of close friends, who have built support for TikTok among others, spearheaded the effort. “Amazon here we are,” the president declared at a union rally.
The New York TimesThey praised it and called it one of the “most significant labor victories in generations” that reflected “a new era of worker power.” Former TimesSteven Greenhouse, labor reporter called it“By far, the largest beating-the odds David versus Goliath unionization victory I have seen in my 25-years of reporting.”
The Staten Island tale is not the only one. There have been other massive unionization failures, like attempts at organizing other Amazon warehouses, such in Bessemer, Alabama, last year. 71 percent of the population voted against joining Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which has lost approximately a quarter its members between 2002-2019.
Because Amazon is a great place to work, it has been difficult for unions. We are in an era of rising worker power, thanks to historically low unemployment and high levels of job vacancies. This gives rank and file greater leverage than ever before to get better pay and conditions.
Amazon for its part has been increasing its salaries and benefits in order to keep workers happy, particularly during the pandemic. The minimum wage was $15 per hour in 2018 and 2017. It increased its starting salaryYou can save up to $18 while getting health insurance and reimbursement for college course costs. Signing bonuses as high as $3,000. These types of perks, more than any other factor, are the main reason why unionization has been so unsuccessful. The second year running, the results were disappointing. LinkedIn is namedAmazon, the most reputable company to join if you are looking to grow your career.
Amazon is not the only one to blame. The reason why unions have been disappearing in the private sector for so long is not that Pinkertons are terrorizing organizers. It is because of changes in the nature of work, and the willingness to negotiate better terms. When outputs and customers, as well as employees and customers, were predictable and schedules rigid, unions thrived. It makes perfect sense that unions will fade as everything becomes more personal.
It will be 2021Only 6 PercentCompared to 17 percent in 1983, only 17% of workers from the private sector were unionized. The public sector is seeing a decline in union support. Unionization of federal, state and local workers has fallen to 34%, after peaking at 39% in 1994. There is little evidence that this trend will change.
K-12 teachers show that unions are unable to raise starting salaries. This is why the fall in teacher productivity can be seen. Unions like the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association are not a good idea. Lobbying successfullyThe inflation adjusted average teacher starting salary has been used to calculate retirement and health benefits. Actually, the decline was actually moreFrom a decade ago. It is a waste of money to continue paying dues for a union that doesn’t deliver to young teachers, who are more concerned about making a living now than making promises in the future.
The federal government is being sought by labor organizers to help them recruit workers. This is the The PRO Act Protects the Right to Organize We would repeal the “right to Work” laws which prevent unions from requiring nonmembers of their ranks to pay dues across 27 states. However, the PRO Act which would allow millions of contractors to be classified as employees and would not pass an equally divided Senate. This is especially true in midterm elections where Democrats will likely lose both houses.
Biden can come after Amazon, Starbucks, and any other public or private sector employer all he wants, but it’s unlikely he—or any other politician or labor organizer—is going to be able to turn around a decadeslong decline in union membership.
Unions are facing the greatest problem, according to it. Workers make progress with their unions.