On Wednesday night, Middletown, Del. technicians and mechanics at an Amazon fulfillment center rejected a proposal to form a union by a 21 to 6 vote, halting the International Association of Machinists’ attempt to unionize Amazon employees for the first time.
Private-sector union membership is down around the country and Amazon reports that its fulfillment center employees are paid 30 percent more than “people who work in traditional retail stores,” prompting one CNBC reporter to ask what the motive behind the union’s attempt was.
“Well absolutely, and that’s the point,” International Association of Machinists (IAMAW) spokesman John Carr replied. “It’s not so much that this was a target for our organization or other unions, although I think certainly it’s considered, but these workers, you know, like I said, they got together and they reached out to us about other concerns they had that didn’t exactly involve the bottom line today.”
One “other concerns they had” Carr cited was vacation time. Business Week reports that other concerns included “limited opportunities for promotion and a constantly rotating chain of managers.” But Carr cited “very effective” anti-union tactics as the reason only 20 percent of the technicians voted to unionize.
There are 30 technicians and mechanics at the center — just a small fraction of the hundreds of Amazon employees at that location, and an even smaller fraction of Amazon’s 88,400 employees, CNBC reports. But the union’s plans didn’t stop at 30.
“Across the country, work groups similar are in these other facilities for Amazon, so a strategic plan would probably come together and we would start looking at what other location, or within the location on how to go forward,” Carr shared before his union was voted down.
Now, “The employees can begin collecting signature cards for another election,” Cnet reports, “but under National Labor Relations Board rules, they will have to wait another year before voting again.