As Amazon workers in Alabama are in the midst of a union vote, workers across the country are seeing various rates of progress on labor rights in the early stages of the Biden administration.
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Assistant General Counsel Amanda Jaret detailed three cases where workers are either seeing positive results or are being hindered in their efforts on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Amazon union efforts
For months, Amazon workers in Alabama have been working to form a union. Now in the vote counting process, Jaret said the count right now sits in favor of the company. She said no matter the result, the other side will definitely challenge.
Amazon has been using every trick in the book to scare or convince workers to vote against the union. Jaret said people are being offered money to leave their job, in hopes they will not be able to vote for the union. While incentivized resigning is one of their tactics, the company has made it clear they do not want the workers to organize and will do everything to prevent it.
Hog line speed litigation
In a win for the labor community, a federal court in Minnesota recently struck down a Trump-era rule that removed restrictions on the speed of hog processing lines.
With COVID-19 still present and workplace restrictions still in place, Jaret said the rule could have been very dangerous for workers. As workers are closely packed in these plants, the speed at which they could have been expected to work would have heightened dangers.
Elon Musk and Tesla punish pro-union employees
Jaret detailed two instances of anti-union activity at electric vehicle giant, Tesla. Elon Musk has long been against the idea of a unionized workforce and is now taking steps to make it known within the company.
Musk posted a message on Twitter asking why employees would even want a union. He said the employees can form a union if they would like, but have no need to. He said they would give up stock shares and current benefits.
However, Tesla has proved that they will make it difficult for the workforce to organize. Recently, the company took action, firing a labor activist. This may be viewed as a message to other activists within the company not to attempt organization.
In another case, Jaret said employees were told they could not wear clothes that displayed the United Auto Workers logo. Despite being within the designated dress code, the workers were told they could not display the logo.