Monday, July 19, 2021

Why Hasn't Amazon Unionized Already?

If you work at an Amazon warehouse in Pa., you are twice as likely to be seriously injured than at any other warehouse (or should I call it fulfillment center?)  in the state. According to Governing, Amazon has averaged 7.2 serious "incidents" per 100 workers over the past three years. In other warehouses, it is only 3.9 incidents per 100 workers.  This statistic alone makes me question how Amazon has remained union-free for so long.   

If you combine serious injuries in Pa., Delaware and  New Jersey, it's still pretty bad. Amazon had 4.9 serious injuries per 100 workers in the three states combined. By contrast, its rivals are safer:

Walmart: 3.4 serious injuries per 100 workers

UPS: 3.1 serious injuries per 100 workers.

Fed-Ex: 2.3 serious injuries per 100 workers.

Like Amazon, Walmart is also nonunion. UPS, which has noticeably fewer injuries than Amazon or Walmart, is unionized. FedEx, which has the lowest rate of all, is mostly nonunion and has spared no expense to stay that way.

It's time to recognize that  warehouse work is dangerous. Coal mining is considered dangerous. But according to the BLS, serious injuries amount to 2.6 per 100 full-time workers. This makes Amazon and other warehouses far more dangerous. 

Shouldn't these warehouse workers have union protection? 

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like the teacher unions??/

Anonymous said...

Amazon workers must wear diapers so they can take a piss while the boss is flying into space on his private rocket ship. As our capitalistic systems falls apart, people should not be surprised that newer generations are not impressed with this version of the Social Contract in America.

Anonymous said...

By your logic, shouldn't the military be unionized?

Anonymous said...

Just more money extracted from workers to finance political activism. If unions would have stuck to worker safety etc, they would be more acceptable, but they are more interested in social experimentation.

Anonymous said...

Amazon workers in Georgia several months ago voted more than 2-1 against forming a union.

Anonymous said...

Its not going to happen. They will automate faster than the workers will organize.

https://chainstoreage.com/walmart-brings-automation-regional-distribution-centers.

Anonymous said...

The head of Amazon is a huge benefactor of the democrat party, also a major source of political cover through the Washington post. Also profits greatly from imported goods. Also likely receives billions of subsidies from the government. I doubt he is getting pressure to accept a union and if it become necessary he may even get approval to hire undocumented immigrants to supply even cheaper labor. So, that could be an answer to your question.

Anonymous said...

We don’t need no stinking unions in America.

All I want is $16 an hour, overtime after 50 hours @ 1 1/2 the rate and double time on holidays. Amazon will give me a fine health care since I am a generally healthy, the policy will have a $10,000 deductible. They will provide me with 10 days, paid time off (PTO) that I can use as vacation time or sick time after 1 year of employment. Retirement plan consisting of a 401k where they will give me 1 1/2 % of my contribution, so I can retire when I am seventy. I will even get a free shirt. All these benefits with no deductions for a union fees that would take $$$ from my biweekly paycheck to feed into the Democratic political machine.

Also, the numbers mentioned of seriously injured incidents is simply propaganda just like the corona virus variants.

God bless America and Jeff Bezos.


Anonymous said...

Of course they should, but does the workforce have a person with the stones and ability to lead an Organization Committee on the down low? They all need the stones to approach fellow workers in getting the required 35% of signed "interest" cards, so a Union can enter the workplace and eventually get a vote taken.

Unknown said...

OK, so how many workers are there at all the Amazon warehouse vs all the others?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"By your logic, shouldn't the military be unionized?"

That's not logic at all. It's a syllogism.

I believe most private occupations should be unionized for the protection of workers against both dangerous conditions and predatory employers. It is bad logic to conclude that I therefore support the unionization of all occupations, including the military.

Anonymous said...

They have the right to organize just like any shop. Or they can go work for uline, who is constantly hiring.
I don't believe unions are necessarily the answer nor do I believe the numbers tell the whole story.
If anyone can give me one valid reason teachers need a union and tenure, I just may change my mind on the matter.

Anonymous said...

@9:44 why don’t you become a teacher. They are the lowest paid professionals in this country. They are Masters educated and make 30% less then the common professional in business.

Unions are necessary and you will learn why in the next ten years when a majority of Boomers will not be able to retire. Why, because they did not work for a union!

Anonymous said...

Unions today are synonymous with social activism, they have strayed off the line on worker safety. The teachers union is the best example, more time on social indoctrination, less time on real learning to earn a living.

Anonymous said...

If you are a miner or a power line worker or operate dangerous machinery, you need a union. How many unions exist in silicon valley and social media? Government workers should have never been allowed to unionize. They have a huge conflict of interest. In fact, government workers or people on welfare should not be allowed to vote. There is huge conflict with voting for those who will increase their pay and benefits.

Anonymous said...

There are thousand and thousand of jobs at other locations then Amazon. But if it is oh so bad at Amazon why do the people work there instead of somewhere else.

And as far a all the crap stories out there. They are true but they are small in comparison to the number of employees.

Amazon is a front for data mining on you and everyone else that buys from them. Sometime read their user agreement and it should scare the carp out of you especially when you start digging into the addendums.

If you are so big to supporting the employees do a self review and explain why you order from Amazon?

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is not about teachers’ unions. Also I suspect that many of those employed by Amazon simply have little choice. It does pay well and that could be enough for people who need to put food on the table.

Anonymous said...

9:54 Bullocks!

Teachers earn a decent living so don't blow smoke. Your salary can easily be found online. I would encourage people to take a look at what you're making. When I found out one of my family members is making 98K as a guidance councilor I almost choked. Graduated college by the slimmest margins. It was so bad that her advisor told her that maybe college wasn't for her. She was "almost" fired for failing to report abuse and only did so when we, non-union members of her family, reminded her that she had a duty to report. That child faced more abuse and the union stepped in to protect, wait for it. . . my knuckle head sister.

If you are that hapless and you have not the fiscal discipline to save for retirement. . . That's on you. What ever happened to personal responsibility?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me repeat- this is not about teacher unions. Your hatred of one union has poisoned your view of them all.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bernie. I've experienced vandalism in RI, MA and PA from an electrical union, operating engineers and a labor union. Our equipment was destroyed or rendered useless in each state. In Philly it was a backhoe of a gentleman who went out on his own and bought the machine. It almost sank his fledgling business. It was a job that required OSHA HAZWOPER training, something the local unions couldn't offer. Even after the vandalism was reported to police we were continually harassed by two unions.
I guess it's fair to say I have a poisoned view of unions.

Anonymous said...

What chafes my ass are those working in unionized workplaces that are no longer required to pay "fair share" of dues (15%). They get the all benefits of a negotiated contract, ask for union representation if they get in trouble, but refuse to pay a dime in supporting the union that prevents them from getting dismissed without cause, or management hiring some friend or relative at a larger starting wage.

When my workplace unionized we negotiated paid personal days, paid sick days, raises of 3.5% each year, co-pay amounts for health benefits, to mention only a few things we never saw, before we organized.

There are some companies that treat their employees right. Those never have to worry about being unionized, because a Union can't unionize well treated employees.

Anonymous said...

Unions have become a liberal& socialist disgrace. Not about the workers anymore, but that of a political party and it's leadership of those unions. They screw the employees. I would know, my wife and I were once in a AFSCME. They suck ! And don't miss it at all.

Anonymous said...

If GA is any indication, workers don't want to organize. Nobody is forced to work at Amazon and Amazon competes for labor against dozens of other local warehouses. I've seen the documentaries about modern slave practices at Amazon. They seem at odds with the thousands who have also seen the documentary and still choose to apply - likely because friends and families have a different experience than the one commonly portrayed. Amazon should really called out for the soaking they're giving USPS, who made a terrible deal when terribly compromised a few years ago. But Prime members probably don't mind that taxpayers are underwriting Amazon's free deliveries. Bezos has friends in DC and his fear of a USPS examination in the last administration disappeared in exchange for campaign cash and social media censorship favors. Capitalism and greasy politicians will always be friends. Just like Nixon to China, pro-union Democrats will have to move the union mountain at Amazon. But they've sold indulgences to Amazon and wouldn't dare shoot the golden goose.

Anonymous said...

try
https://apnews.com/article/business-general-news-fe02363fede1e67b57d673260d7f07d4
"Union said in a filing that Amazon threatened workers with layoffs and even the closing of the warehouse if they unionized. "
That one is probably the main fear the workers would have. Amazon ran the risk of all the distribution centers thinking about unions and they would shut it down to send a message to all the others.
Walmart has done the same thing-vote union and the store closes.
Plus the full court smash. They had almost a year to run the anti-union spiel.
mandatory anti-union meetings, Handing out vote "no" pins to workers, even changing the traffic light timing to minimize employee's even seeing pro union signs.
Local county cops working "off hours security" with on shift cops waiting nearby to identify anyone Amazon needed knowing about.
Bezos wrote a letter saying that worker conditions should be improved--yep--sure amazon cares== until it hurts the bottom line

Anonymous said...

I remember once hearing a story from a guy who was showing equipment at a trade show at the Philly Convention Center. The union was supposed to set up his equipment. When they hadn't shown and the crowd was starting to come in, he set it up himself. When they found out they cut all his cords.

Anonymous said...

I stayed in a new union environment to see if they really help. All they did was take money. Betrayed those who they represented. It was a joke. And there were two big unions involved. Maybe back in the day they were both needed and helpful. Today all they care about is their paycheck and politics. Behind the scenes in meetings with management they showed what was important to them and it was definitely not the employees.

Anonymous said...

10.06
"In fact, government workers or people on welfare should not be allowed to vote. There is huge conflict with voting for those who will increase their pay and benefits."
Well guess the folks in the military do not get to vote or FBI agents?
Should any company getting tax breaks(corporate welfare) be denied the vote?

Anonymous said...

@9:54 BIG DEAL ONE EXAMPLE, your knucklehead sister.

Let’s face facts, you never worked for a union and you most likely voted for Trump.

Views like your has led to the decline of America for the past 40 years. Personal responsibility is working for a company that cares for their employees.They offer their Employees a real defined pension plan, unlimited sick days, free health care, free dental and eye care. A job that has union coverage for it population, like Baseball players and actors, representation to make life fair.

Wake up and smell the roses, you are poor like the rest of the 90% of Americans and that is due to the decline of unions. I hope you are happy.

Anonymous said...

10.38
The folks are given a carrot that if they work really hard and fast they can reach the goal and make good money. the reality is that they are churned and burned. they are disposable and treated that way remember they start in the temp company that Amazon hires, with lower wages and only after quite some time can they move to be Amazon employees.
try (from 2011)
https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/life-and-death-amazon-temp/
"the Morning Call, a Pennsylvania newspaper, published an extensive report on the physical pressures inside an Amazon warehouse in Lehigh Valley. The paper revealed that Amazon’s private medical teams regularly tended to Integrity temps sick with heat and exhaustion. One worker told officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that 15 people had collapsed in a single day."

Anonymous said...

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-marijuana-test-job-applicants/

Anonymous said...

I worked for Amazon about 10 years ago just to see if I could handle warehouse work after sitting behind a desk for 30 years (to see if I could handle a decent union paying job at Mack Trucks). Since then I have paid twice the price or more rather than buy anything from Amazon. They suck. I have not seen crappier working conditions since I was a teenager working outside at a car wash in 20 deg weather.
About unions in general: I worked for a piss poor union that only worried about taking your dues (textile union) and I worked in a great union that actually took care of it's workers (USWA).
People have forgotten that the 5 day, 40 hr. week started with unions. Reagan and the Pubs convinced everyone that unions were evil and no longer needed; guess what? the average man's income and well being has declined ever since.
Right now is the first time in many years that labor is actually is starting to get an edge. One of the very few benefits due to covid.
Why hasn't Amazon unionized? I remember when Amazon didn't want you anymore people's entry card wouldn't work without notice. Then like sheep they would go over to an office and sit there waiting to be told what to do. It was surreal. I told my supervisor that if I was laid off in that fashion I would make sure the whole F'n place would know about it (no violence, I would just make sure I was heard, especially when I was showing up there at 6am.) When I was laid off they did give me a nice box of chocolates and I got more when I grabbed them off of the desk chairs of the people that didn't bother to show up.
Why isn't Amazon unionized? Simply put: the workers don't know any better.

Anonymous said...

anmom 5:07, Oh yeah, well i heard the Martians s cut the cords.

Anonymous said...

In a related story, I saw a live report from CBS Channel 3 Philadelphia this morning in which some land owner just allowed the establishment of a truck terminal in a lot by Bucky Boyle Park and it is unclear if there are any approvals or not from the City. They have hundreds of tractor trailers weaving through downtown streets, damaging parked vehicles, sidewalks and other public infrastructure. Most of the trucks appear to be associated with Amazon.

Anonymous said...

All I'm able to see at the Bucky Boyle site is an abandoned warehouse site owned by developer Jeremy Wells of Salisbury Township. I wouldn't be surprised if he just made a deal with Amazon to return the site into active use as a truck terminal. I have no idea if its approved by the City or not.

Anonymous said...

5:53

Life is not fair. Just ask the young girl that was being abused by her father. Too bad she was just one example. Unfortunately, she didn't have union protection.

Life is not fair. I paid over 80K in PA taxes this year to help prop up an underfunded pension that covers teachers and liquor store cashiers. The taxpayers don't contribute to my retirement.

Life is not fair. Born poor, I didn't wait for anyone to give me things for free. I worked hard and paid for school.

Life is not fair but I'm making my own way and not screaming for all the free, free and unlimited benefits you feel entitled to for simply existing.

On the contrary, I'm quite happy that I've worked hard and have the luxury of not hiring some entitled brat like yourself. You fail to realize by making everyone equal, we will be equally poor.

Life is not fair. Take a few of those unlimited sick days till you feel better. The taxpayers will take care of you.

Anonymous said...

2:26 AM

Maybe women are from Venus and union members are from Mars.

https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/05/08/convention-center-files-organized-crime-lawsuit-against-carpenters-union/

https://www.phillymag.com/news/2012/09/28/convention-center-lost-15-million-show-electric-screwdriver-dispute/

Of course since there is no literal description of cutting cords, you can continue to believe what you want to believe. But you're going to do that anyway.

Anonymous said...

9:07

If you paid 80K in PA taxes, Thank you!

You are a Good American and pay your fair share. Remember the fascist Trump said only fools pay taxes.

Hopefully, you pay your worker a fair wage and maybe the benefits you offer them will allow them to live a substantial life like most of those socialized countries, aka most of Europe. 35 hour work week, socialize medicine where they won’t take your house away from you when you get old & sick, free education or trade school working for the greater good.

Not just squirreling away money throwing employees under the bus and thinking you are a good religious hardworking person who worked there way up to the top 20%.

Pay your fair of taxes and then we all can have free healthcare for everyone.

Lastly, as a working union and non-union employee, I would rather work for a union it make life fair for the people.



Anonymous said...

Amazon is the next big behemoth that people use and chase to highlight the evil's. It was Walmart before them, Sears before them, the steel companies before them, the coal companies before that and so back through history.

The bigger you are the bigger the target.

I'm not saying that they are all good but they are not all bad either. And that can be said for any organization no matter the size.

Heck yes there have been negatives and bad points but when you are a news agency that pays people to talk you can get people to say whatever you want to hear to make your case. And even when someone does not say what you want to hear you can twist the words to make it that way.

But again it is back to follow the money. Big companies work the crap out of employees to make money. Employees ignore the crap they go through to make money. Unions ride the backs of their people so their senior people can make big money. And no matter the level they all b--tch and complain when they think someone else has it easier, is making more money, or able to grift, scam or steal more money then the next.

And then you have the people on the outside crying the blues for someone or something only knowing half the truth.

It is the way of modern life!

Anonymous said...

10:41,

People like us get it. There are unions that don't give a damn and there are those that do. I organized my workplace years ago, contacting no less than 5 unions before making a choice and only then approaching those I knew were pro-union in my workplace, to serve on a "down low" Organization Committee. Teamsters were the worst contact. They wanted 70% of the workforce to sign "Interest Cards" before they would approach management (basically, ensuring an easy win of 50%+1 vote) and their dues were 2 hours of pay per check.

We have the Transport Workers Union and they negotiated a our contract that included paid sick days, paid personal days, 3.5% pay raises each year, full benefits for all who work more than 26 hours per week, a fair co-pay for insurance coverage, and bidding on jobs by seniority. None of which we had a say in previously, when we would get a 10 cent raise, or none at all. Paid sick days and personal days was unheard of before we unionized. Hell, we didn't even get paid holidays when we closed.

We pay 1 hour per check toward dues, but for new hires who weren't around for the abuse, many won't pay dues. They seem to think that what they are getting now from the company was "given" by the company. Some are downright anti-union until they get jammed up and then they want union help. What chafes my ass is even though they don't pay dues, they are still entitled to that help and everything else the union negotiates in each new contract.

They are fk'n leeches.

As the us "old timers" have been retiring over the years, we now have about 80% of workers who weren't there when management would take care of their pets and make life miserable for those they didn't like.

People hear PA is a Right To Work state and think that is good for the worker. It should be named a Right To Fire state, because without a union, an employer in PA can dismiss any employee without a reason.

For those who think unions are some form of evil, work for Amazon. You might see why they need to organize.

Anonymous said...

Cannot believe how the MAGA crowd has just blown over the main topic of Bernie's post and weny on a right wing rant abasing employee conditions. So what do you think of a billionaire business owner treating his employees like shit? WE have an economy in which most employees have a choice of tweedle dee and tweedle dum, when it comes to employment and wages.

The system will crash under the weight of it own ignorance and greed. A;; your blathering won't change that.

Anonymous said...

6:23 - Why would anyone fire an employee that was doing a good job?

Even in PA, a "right to fire" state, I just cannot fire an employee. That would just invite litigation. Verbal, written warnings followed by a performance improvement plan (PIP), before I can consider terminating an employee.
It costs plenty of money to train a new employee.

Anonymous said...

2:30.
Here's a few reasons:
A manager believes they aren't a team player.
They dare to question management decisions.
They are known to be talking to others about unionizing.
An opening needs to be created for a friend, or relative.

As for inviting litigation, you aren't required to give a reason. To avoid litigation many employers just state the employee's services are no longer needed. Mention inappropriate attire, too many sick days, haircut, make-up, etc. and the employer will be open to a lawsuit.

Your company may be one of the larger ones that have policies in place, including disciplinary steps for infractions. I've seen those abused, as the most minor infractions will be recorded in order to create a paper trail to justify the plan to get rid of an employee.

Anonymous said...

6:23

Bullshit! You can be fired for any reason at all. Employer’s can write whatever they wish and the employee can write whatever they want, but the end game in PA is that you are fired.

So it really cost more to hire and train a new employee then to pay someone with 10 years experience? Wake up and smell the roses.

When you have no one backing you up then you are out. This is one of the reasons unions are good, they have the employees back.

Anonymous said...

7:35/7:13

There is nothing saying the employee who was "fired" cannot file a lawsuit for a host of reasons. I was involved with an employee that violated more than one company policy. It was documented, the employee was let go, and in short order sued. It took a few years but the insurance company settled and our premium went up. Companies just don't fire people for no reason. There is always a reason and usually a good one. One of the most intelligent managers I ever worked with was terminated for his behavior towards women. Great at his job but a total monster. I'm clearly questioning if either of you have been in a management position with direct reports.

As for the cost of hiring a new employee, yes it's more expensive than paying someone with 10 years experience you already employ. You generally have to bring that new employee in at a higher rate. Even if they come with equal experience, the loss of 10 years of institutional knowledge is costly. I will have to spend more time with that employee taking away from my responsibilities.

Again, 7:35, I would hope that I ask the right personality questions while interviewing, that I figure out that your an entitled brat with a victim complex. If you excel in your position people will surely back you up. Not sure how a union provides that support for high performers.

Lastly, if you have enough emotional intelligence questioning management can be accomplished in a productive manner. I'm not completely certain, but I don't think you two have that arrow in your quiver.

Anonymous said...

9:03

You are very naive in your world view an due to your incompetence cost the company money since the insurance premiums went up.

Good job! I guess you asked the wrong personality questions while interviewing that fired employee who won their lawsuit.

I am glad you are a very high performer, at least in your own mind. Maybe ask your employees what they really think of you when outside the office. I’ll bet that something that you never did.

Anonymous said...

6:23 - Kudos for completely proving my last point.

Maybe you should stop projecting and take a deep long look at your own character. If you want to troll properly learn a few basic things. For example, a settlement does not mean she "won". Insurance companies calculate the cost of litigation compared to paying this person to go away. Your comments speak more to your inexperience than you realize.

I make it a point to let my staff know that I'm training them for my position. No person is irreplaceable.