Yesterday, everyone was celebrating the landmark David vs Goliath unionization of Amazon's massive warehouse operation on Staten Island. Well, not everyone... Republicans were furious... and so were certain Democrats. We'll get back to that in a moment. The NY Times reported that "Workers at the facility voted by a wide margin to form a union, according to results released on Friday, in one of the biggest victories for organized labor in a generation. Employees cast 2,654 votes to be represented by Amazon Labor Union and 2,131 against, giving the union a win by more than 10 percentage points, according to the National Labor Relations Board. More than 8,300 workers at the warehouse, which is the only Amazon fulfillment center in New York City, were eligible to vote. The win on Staten Island comes at a perilous moment for labor unions in the United States, which saw the portion of workers in unions drop last year to 10.3 percent, the lowest rate in decades, despite high demand for workers, pockets of successful labor activity and rising public approval... The union victory at Amazon, the first at the company in the United States after years of worker activism there, offers an enormous opportunity to change that trajectory and build on recent wins. Many union leaders regard Amazon as an existential threat to labor standards because it touches so many industries and frequently dominates them... Amazon is likely to aggressively contest the union’s win."
The Staten Island outcome followed what appears likely to be a narrow loss by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union at a large Amazon warehouse in Alabama. The vote is close enough that the results will not be known for several weeks as contested ballots are litigated.
The surprising strength shown by unions in both locations most likely means that Amazon will face years of pressure at other company facilities from labor groups and progressive activists working with them. As a recent string of union victories at Starbucks have shown, wins at one location can provide encouragement at others.
Amazon hired voraciously over the past two years and now has 1.6 million employees globally. But it has been plagued by high turnover, and the pandemic gave employees a growing sense of power while fueling worries about workplace safety. The Staten Island warehouse, known as JFK8, was the subject of a New York Times investigation last year, which found that it was emblematic of the stresses-- including inadvertent firings and sky-high attrition-- on workers caused by Amazon’s employment model.
“The pandemic has fundamentally changed the labor landscape” by giving workers more leverage with their employers, said John Logan, a professor of labor studies at San Francisco State University. “It’s just a question of whether unions can take advantage of the opportunity that transformation has opened up.”
Standing outside the N.L.R.B. office in Brooklyn, where the ballots were tallied, Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee who started the union, popped a bottle of champagne before a crowd of supporters and press. “To the first Amazon union in American history,” he cheered.
Amazon said it was evaluating its options, including potentially filing an objection to “inappropriate and undue influence” by the N.L.R.B. for suing Amazon in federal court last month.
In that case, the N.L.R.B. asked a judge to force Amazon to swiftly rectify “flagrant unfair labor practices” it said took place when Amazon fired a worker who became involved with the union. Amazon argued in court that the labor board abandoned “the neutrality of their office” by filing the injunction just before the election.
Amazon would need to prove that any claims of undue influence undermined the so-called laboratory conditions necessary for a fair election, said Wilma Liebman, the chair of the N.L.R.B. under President Barack Obama.
President Biden was “glad to see workers ensure their voices are heard” at the Amazon facility, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “He believes firmly that every worker in every state must have a free and fair choice to join a union,” she said.
That must have been a bitter announcement for Psaki, a former managing director of the perfidious, influence-peddling political fixers, Global Strategy Group, the firm Amazon used to try to bust the union's efforts and the firm lowlife conservative Democrats-- from Andrew Cuomo to Michael Bloomberg routinely use to advance their shady interests. I remember them as the most vicious of enemies in 2018, when they were smearing AOC as she battled, successfully, to beat one of their top clients, crooked, ethics-free scumbag Joe Crowley. Other sleazy politicians who use them include Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Josh Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Val Demings (New Dem-FL) and Bill Foster (New Dem-IL), not to mention the DCCC and Pelosi's House Majority PAC, which launders corporate cash into the campaigns of Democrats who pretend they don't take corporate contributions.
In 2020 Global Strategy Group, working on behalf of Bloomberg's self-financed ($1,089,225,532) presidential campaign, came up with a bullshit narrative that if Bernie were the Democratic nominee it would destroy all the party's down-ballot candidates. Bloomberg announced his campaign in November 2019, spent all his time and energy using Bloomberg News, Global Strategy Group and social media influencers they paid off to smear Bernie and Elizabeth Warren, winning just American Samoa and dropping out on March 4.
Global Strategy Group is notorious for being the "Democrats" willing to work for all the worst corporate entities, not just Amazon's anti-union efforts. They work heavily in the dirty energy sector, including Russia's Lukoil. They also do the dirty work for Purdue Pharma, Uber, Comcast, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.
On Friday, Wisconsin's pro-worker progressive Senate candidate, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson congratulated the Amazon workers for beating Global Strategy Group's filthy campaign against them, while calling on one of his opponents, Sarah Godlewski, to drop Global Strategy Group as one of her chief consultants, having paid them over $60,000 last year. Nelson's campaign released a statement pointing out that "Amazon hired Global Strategy Group to advise them on how to union bust. The shocking story was discovered by CNBC who reported that tactics included distributing fliers and making workers sit through presentations where they were told why they shouldn’t unionize."
Nelson, who has been endorsed by Blue America and whose campaign you can support by clicking on the 2022 Senate thermometer on the left, said "Wisconsinites deserve a senator who doesn’t hire traitorous union busters. I’m calling on Sarah Godlewski, to sever all ties with Global Strategy Group. Solidarity demands we stand on the side of these brave organizers putting everything on the line to confront one of the most powerful corporations in America. Wisconsin workers need and deserve a strong labor advocate who they can trust, who always has their back, and doesn’t sell them out to corporate interests."
Democrats wonder why voters view them with suspicion, distrust and even abhorrence. Organizations like Global Strategy Group are a big part of the answer. Candidates who use them are selling out before they even get into office.