The Amazon union fight in Bessemer, AL has shown how difficult it is to form a union in America. Our hollowed-out labor laws allow management to harass, intimidate, even threaten workers with impunity. Meanwhile, they restrict unions and prevent workers from fighting back. Amazon took full advantage of these loopholes, using every cruel and underhanded technique imaginable to bust their workers’ union. Sadly, it worked. But what if the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act was law? Could it have changed the nature of the election and possibly the result? Would it have made that much of a difference? The answer is unquestionably yes.
Under the PRO Act, Amazon would have been much more limited in its ability to prevent workers from organizing. Bosses would be prohibited from holding mandatory anti-union meetings, participating in representation proceedings, or changing the size of the bargaining unit the way Amazon did. And if companies like Amazon continued with unlawful interference in elections, they would face far greater consequences under the PRO Act.
This is why labor organizers and activists have been fighting so hard for it. And it’s working. The pressure has caused Senators Angus King and Joe Manchin to reverse their earlier positions and support the bill. Only three Democratic senators now remain: Kyrsten Sinema, Mark Kelly, and Mark Warner. Just three people stand in the way of historic labor reform, and a future where workers like the ones at Amazon can exercise their right to organize, without interference from the boss. Over 1,000 events to demand passage of the PRO Act are scheduled all over the country as part of AFL-CIO’s week of action beginning April 26 and culminating on May Day. It’s high time for a future where worker rights are a guarantee.
Photo: Chris Wilkins, Lanaye Cannon, John Rutledge, D’Andrelle Bolden and Byron Short Jr. from Local 2397 on the picket line at Warrior Met. Credit: United Mine Workers
World of Work
AL: Members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) working at Warrior Met in Bessemer, AL rejected a tentative collective bargaining agreement reached last week with Warrior, and will continue on an unfair labor practice strike.
PA: Tyler Hospital workers are engaging in a three-day Unfair Labor Practices strike from April 21-23, to bring management to the table to negotiate with them in good faith. Support the workers during this strike.
CA: Dock workers with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 joined the truck drivers of the Universal Intermodal Services in Los Angeles on April 14 in their strike against unfair layoffs. They’ve refused to service vehicles with Universal Logistics Holdings, disrupting work at one of the seven terminals at the Port of Los Angeles.
NY: UPS management has wrongfully fired 10 part-time essential workers part of Teamsters Local 804 working at the Laurelton building in Queens. They had their first public action last Tuesday and their second one continues today at 13640 Springfield Blvd, Queens NY 11413.
IL: Workers at the Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations in the Chicago area are on strike seeking COVID-19 protections and quarantine pay.