If safety is the biggest problem for the technicians, then there are also concerns about fair pay – mechanics say they get paid different amounts for doing the same job – and about the fact that they cannot control their own destiny. Part of Mr. Hough’s view is that a union makes management less authoritarian.
“One guy, all I remember is his name is Bob,” he said. “They asked Bob to come to the control room, and the next thing I saw, Bob was going down the steps. He took off his office vest. I said, ‘Bob, where are you going?’ He said, ‘They ended me.’ I don’t ask why. That’s how it was. “
Some technicians said they recall being told during a meeting, “You vote for a union, each of you will look for work tomorrow.” On the other hand, the most outspoken union advocates are described as “the cancer and the disease for the Amazon and the facility,” according to Mr. Hough and a union memo. (In a petition to the labor council, Amazon said it had investigated the case and “concluded that it could not be proven.”)
Mr. Hough, a cancer survivor, said the references offended him. He declined to attend another meeting run by that manager. He said in any case he knew what she was going to say: that the union is canceling the election because they think it will lose. Amazon won.
On March 30, 2015, Mr. Hough received a written warning from Mr. Frye, his manager.
It says: “Your behavior has been called negative by coworkers / leaders. Included in “noncooperation” is a refusal to attend Amazon’s announcement of victory. Another incident, Amazon said, could lead to contract termination.
The mechanic union filed a complaint with the labor council in July 2015 accusing Amazon of engaging in unfair labor practices, including surveying, threatening, and “informing employees that the voting Representing the union is in vain ”. Mr. Hough spent eight hours that summer giving his testimony. While labor activists and trade unions often see board leaning heavily on the employer’s side, union officials say a formal protest will at least show Chester technicians. that someone is fighting for them.
In early 2016, Amazon settled with the board. The main thrust of the two-page deal is that Amazon will post employee notices promising good behavior while admitting nothing.