Amazon workers vote to reject union

Thomas Lifson
Let's face it: unions are dying, at least in the private sector, which is where the movement originated. The only source of growth is among government employees, where competitive pressures do not exist, and where, to be frank, unions should be prohibited, as even FDR felt.

Bloomberg Business Week reports:

On Wednesday night, a majority of a group of 27 technicians at an Amazon fulfillment center in Middletown, Del., voted to reject an initiative to form a union under the auspices of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, according to John Carr, a spokesman for the IAMAW. The vote was 21 to 6.

More than three-to-one! That's a pretty substantial margin. True, the absolute numbers are small, but both sides saw this as a key signal as to where the unions' drive to organize Amazon, widely perceived as the future of retailing, was headed. So resources were deployed on both sides.

The vote, the first of its kind at an Amazon fulfillment center, was scheduled last month after members of the group filed a petition to organize a union with the National Labor Relations Board. 

Amazon called in a union-fighting law firm:

The petition set off a month of furious lobbying inside Amazon. The Seattle-based online retailer hired the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, to aid it in the campaign and called meetings of the technicians to explain the company's opposition to unions and ask for a second chance to resolve the dispute. Among the messages conveyed, according to the pro-union employee, was that unions in general were harmful to the U.S. The employee said the sessions created stark and vociferous divisions among the technicians.

Translation: everybody now realizes that greedy unions drove 2 of the Big Three automakers into bankruptcy, leading to an absolute shrinkage in the number of people employed manufacturing cars in the unionized companies. Meanwhile, people also realize that non-union foreign manufacturers have established prospering facilities making Toyotas, Subarus, Nissans, and other makes in the good old USA without subjecting their employees to the involuntary deduction of union dues.

As the union movement becomes perceived for what it is - a political interest group dedicated to extorting high pay and benefits for the privileged group of government employees who work under cushier work rules for more pay than the rest of us - public support for restoring the prohibition on government worker unions, or at least limiting them, will increase. Scott Walker's Wisconsin has already seen great benefits from the restrictions on union control over non-wage issues for teachers, and requiring re-certification of teacher unions.

If Scott Walker should decide to see the GOP presidential nomination, it could herald a national conversation over government employee unions. That would be very healthy, and if the unionization voter at Amazon is any indication, the public might react in ways that lefties would describe as "false consciousness." And because unions represent a huge source of funds for the Democratic Party, restrictions on government unions represent a potential structural change in American politics.

Let's face it: unions are dying, at least in the private sector, which is where the movement originated. The only source of growth is among government employees, where competitive pressures do not exist, and where, to be frank, unions should be prohibited, as even FDR felt.

Bloomberg Business Week reports:

On Wednesday night, a majority of a group of 27 technicians at an Amazon fulfillment center in Middletown, Del., voted to reject an initiative to form a union under the auspices of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, according to John Carr, a spokesman for the IAMAW. The vote was 21 to 6.

More than three-to-one! That's a pretty substantial margin. True, the absolute numbers are small, but both sides saw this as a key signal as to where the unions' drive to organize Amazon, widely perceived as the future of retailing, was headed. So resources were deployed on both sides.

The vote, the first of its kind at an Amazon fulfillment center, was scheduled last month after members of the group filed a petition to organize a union with the National Labor Relations Board. 

Amazon called in a union-fighting law firm:

The petition set off a month of furious lobbying inside Amazon. The Seattle-based online retailer hired the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, to aid it in the campaign and called meetings of the technicians to explain the company's opposition to unions and ask for a second chance to resolve the dispute. Among the messages conveyed, according to the pro-union employee, was that unions in general were harmful to the U.S. The employee said the sessions created stark and vociferous divisions among the technicians.

Translation: everybody now realizes that greedy unions drove 2 of the Big Three automakers into bankruptcy, leading to an absolute shrinkage in the number of people employed manufacturing cars in the unionized companies. Meanwhile, people also realize that non-union foreign manufacturers have established prospering facilities making Toyotas, Subarus, Nissans, and other makes in the good old USA without subjecting their employees to the involuntary deduction of union dues.

As the union movement becomes perceived for what it is - a political interest group dedicated to extorting high pay and benefits for the privileged group of government employees who work under cushier work rules for more pay than the rest of us - public support for restoring the prohibition on government worker unions, or at least limiting them, will increase. Scott Walker's Wisconsin has already seen great benefits from the restrictions on union control over non-wage issues for teachers, and requiring re-certification of teacher unions.

If Scott Walker should decide to see the GOP presidential nomination, it could herald a national conversation over government employee unions. That would be very healthy, and if the unionization voter at Amazon is any indication, the public might react in ways that lefties would describe as "false consciousness." And because unions represent a huge source of funds for the Democratic Party, restrictions on government unions represent a potential structural change in American politics.