Three out of four adults in the United States are in favor of unionization efforts at Amazon.
That’s according to a new poll released Monday, two and a half weeks after the Amazon Labor Union’s historic election victory at the JFK8 warehouse in New York City and ahead of next week’s vote on whether to unionize a smaller Staten Island facility.
The survey, conducted by Blue Rose Research on behalf of More Perfect Union, reached nearly 2,500 adults between April 7 and April 12, just days after ALU organized the first successful union drive at Amazon in U.S. history.
According to More Perfect Union, 75% of respondents agreed with Amazon workers who say that they “need union representation in order to have job security, better pay, and safer working conditions”—the same demands listed on ALU’s website.
“The union’s argument was significantly more popular (roughly 20 percentage points higher) than the management-side argument that workers don’t need a union because they already have good pay and benefits,” the progressive media outlet noted.
Amazon’s reputation among consumers remains high, but that hasn’t dampened public support for the unionization of its workforce.
More Perfect Union’s poll found that 90% of people who have purchased something on Amazon in the past three months have a favorable opinion of the e-commerce giant. Nevertheless, 75% of these satisfied customers still backed the argument made by the company’s pro-union workers.
Young respondents were especially supportive of efforts to organize the country’s second-largest employer, where recent data on surging workplace injuries and the widening chasm between CEO-to-median-worker pay reveals the consequences of a 40-year corporate assault on collective bargaining carried out with bipartisan support.
Corporate greed is Jeff Bezos becoming $152,000 richer a MINUTE, owning a $500 million yacht & a $175 million Beverly Hills estate, while Amazon employees who worked over 10 hours on Easter Sunday might be "lucky enough” to win a $2 snack pack. Yes. Amazon workers need a union. https://t.co/8BH0xmuYqP— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) April 19, 2022
Among respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, a whopping 83% agreed with the pro-union argument, while 80% of people aged 35 to 49 concurred.
Young people who voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 were even more enthusiastic in their support for Amazon workers, with 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 90% of 35- to 49-year-olds in favor of unionization. As recent polling has shown a collapse in the president’s approval rating among people under 35, More Perfect Union suggested that “embracing organizing workers can help Biden restore his public standing.”
Even a majority of young supporters of former President Donald Trump—71% of 18- to 34-year-olds and 66% of 35- to 49-year-olds—said that Amazon workers need union representation.
Support for unionizing Amazon workers was also apparent across racial categories—71% among white respondents, 75% among Asian respondents, 83% among Hispanic respondents, and 87% among Black respondents.
ALU’s electoral triumph at the beginning of this month was likened to “David beats Goliath,” given that the group, led by former and current Amazon warehouse workers and not affiliated with an established union, challenged one of the world’s most powerful corporations and won—less than a year after it was created.
ALU president Christian Smalls was fired by Amazon in March 2020 after he organized a walkout at the JFK8 fulfillment center to protest the company’s refusal to adequately protect workers during the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Monday, a judge ruled that Amazon must reinstate Gerald Bryson, a former employee at JFK8 who was illegally fired after leading another protest in the wake of Smalls’ termination. The decision came nearly two years after Bryson filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Amazon of retaliating against him for workplace organizing.
A federal lawsuit filed last month by the NLRB on behalf of Bryson has been cited by Amazon in its objections to the JFK8 election results. Amazon is seeking to overturn ALU’s victory after losing at the ballot box.
Amazon, which spent $4.3 million on anti-union consultants in 2021 alone, pulled out all the stops to undermine ALU organizers before their first election—forcing workers to attend hundreds of captive-audience meetings, threatening workers with pay cuts, and hiring a Democratic Party-aligned firm to assist with its failed union-busting campaign.
While Smalls, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and others were celebrating ALU’s stunning achievement, Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama forged ahead with their second attempt to unionize. Hundreds of ballots are still being challenged following an inconclusive early April vote. The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) has filed more than 20 objections to Amazon’s conduct with the NLRB.
Back in New York City, ALU faces the difficult task of negotiating with Amazon, a corporation that is already immensely powerful and now potentially even more hostile.
According to a Bloomberg Law analysis from last year, it takes longer than a year on average for new unions and employers to sign their first collective bargaining agreement. Many unions, due to bad-faith negotiating by employers and other factors, never succeed in securing their first contract.
HuffPost labor reporter Dave Jamieson noted earlier this month that “Amazon would have a strong incentive not to offer the union a decent deal, for fear it would only encourage more unionization elsewhere.”
Workers at more than 100 of the retail giant’s facilities throughout the U.S. have contacted ALU about organizing their workplaces.
The union’s second election in Staten Island is less than a week away. Voting is set to begin on April 25 at Amazon’s 1,500-worker LDJ5 warehouse, where the company has been accused of “playing really dirty” in an attempt to prevent a repeat performance by ALU.
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