Should retail fear or accept the return of organized work? – RetailWire

April 11, 2022

At the beginning of April, the workers of an Amazon.com’s Staten Island warehouse has voted to form the e-commerce giant’s first U.S. union, building on successful organizing efforts at Starbucks and suggesting a new U.S. labor movement is in the works. Classes.

At Starbucks, More than 180 of the company’s 9,000 company-operated stores called for union elections and 16 voted to unionize after a union organizing campaign was made public last August. Last month, an REI site in Manhattan also voted to unionize.

Election follows years of union decline with share of American workers in unions drop to 10.3% in 2021, down half a percentage point from 2020 and the lowest rate in decades.

However, the tight labor market and pandemic-related workplace pressures have created a rare opportunity for workers to rally around better pay and treatment. President Joe Biden ran on the promise of being the most pro-Labour president, and a September Gallup poll found that 68% of Americans approve of unions, the most supportive since 1965.

The reason labor law reform proponents hope is that organizing efforts were initiated by employees at the local level rather than the traditional centralized approach to work led by seasoned union leaders. The local approach counters traditional anti-union tactics whereby outside union members do not understand workers’ concerns and are only interested in dues.

Amazon in a statement said the company was “disappointed” with the outcome of the vote “because we believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees.” He filed an appeal.

the New York Times reported that from Amazon “The ability to ship packages to consumers relies on an extensive chain of manual labor controlled to the second. No one knows what will happen if newly unionized workers try to change this pattern or disrupt operations. »

Last Monday, longtime Starbucks executive Howard Schultz returned as interim CEO and told employees at a town hall meeting that he views Starbucks as a worker-friendly company “that doesn’t need someone between us and our employees”.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are retailers likely to see more frequent organizing campaigns in the coming years? How should tactics change to discourage such efforts, or should retailers seek to work with unions?

Braintrust

“If management wants to have great relationships with its employees, it needs to engage with them in a meaningful way.”

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