“Wherever they tried, they were defeated,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “Walmart will send teams to stores to fight an alliance. They are very good at it ”.
Like Walmart, labor leaders believe it is important to build a foothold at Amazon, which affects the pay and working conditions of millions of workers thanks to the competitive pressure that it makes. inflicted on competitors in industries such as groceries and fashion.
But the labor movement’s failure to break into Walmart despite investing millions of dollars overshadowed their thinking about Amazon. “They feel very hot trying to organize Walmart and get nowhere,” said Ruth Milkman, a labor sociologist at the New York City University Postgraduate Center.
Only a relatively small, fragmented coalition, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Alliance, felt the Alabama election deserved a large investment. As the votes were being checked, Stuart Appelbaum, the union president, argued that the one-way results were due to a “broken” voting system in favor of employers.
Amazon sees things differently. “It’s easy to predict the union will say Amazon won this election because we threatened employees, but that’s not true,” the company said in a statement. “Our employees have chosen to vote out of union. Our employees are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we always work hard to listen to them. “
However, even when elections often proved to be in vain, labor has achieved some success over the years with an alternative model – what Dr. Milkman calls “air war. and land war ”.
The idea is to combine workplace actions like walking (land war) with putting pressure on company executives through public relations campaigns highlighting working conditions and enlist the support of public figures (air war). The International Service Employees Coalition has been using a strategy to organize cleaning staff starting in the 1980s and to gain profits for fast food workers over the past few years, including a raise in wages. in the whole industry.