The more workers come together in solidarity and fight for better working conditions, higher pay, benefits, and a seat at the table, the more corporations will expose their true colors. After the historic Amazon Labor Union win on Staten Island, Amazon is now reportedly developing an internal messaging app, intended to “increase happiness” among the workers. But the app reportedly bans the use of words like “union”, “fire”, “compensation”, “plantation”, “slave labor”, “diversity”, “robots”, “grievance” and “injustice”. This reaction, as offensive as it may be, shows how afraid Amazon is of the power of collective action taken by the brave Amazon workers at JFK8 and across the country, who have forced the corporation to show the lengths it’s willing to go to control its workforce.
At Starbucks, where a historic union wave is sweeping the country, management recently announced that it may be expanding benefits for its workers, but that this expansion will exclude workers who chose to unionize. On the one hand, this shows that Starbucks Workers United, who have been fighting for higher pay, better working conditions, and expanded benefits, have forced the corporation to react by providing more for its workers. On the other hand, it exposes Starbucks’ punitive stance against its own employees who legally won their union and hints at the coming strategy that Starbucks and other corporations will be adopting to fight against workers’ collective action.
Whether it’s with the carrot or the stick, corporations and capitalists will always try to stop union organizing and destroy worker solidarity. But it’s important to understand that they do this because they are afraid of what will happen when working people realize their power. And they should be. When workers stand and fight together, there’s nothing they can’t overcome.
Image: Senator Bernie Sanders and ALU President Chris Smalls address supporters in Staten Island