Amazon Playbook Defeats Union Push in Alabama : The Indicator from Planet Money The results are in: Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama will not unionize, for now. We discuss the tactics companies use to keep organized labor at bay.
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How Amazon Defeated The Union

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How Amazon Defeated The Union

How Amazon Defeated The Union

How Amazon Defeated The Union

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PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images
(Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Bessemer, Alabama: it's an old coal town just outside of Birmingham, now home to a massive "fulfillment center" that's owned and operated by Amazon. Some workers at that warehouse wanted to join a union — the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) in this case — and there was a vote.

The vote was by mail because of the pandemic, and for days, you could watch ballots being opened and counted and challenged on Zoom. In the end, the pro-union camp was outvoted by a pretty wide margin. The National Labor Relations Board said 738 workers wanted a union, and 1,798 workers did not.

As the push for the union moved on it gained national attention, big name politicians and celebrities supported it. But, it seems like over the course of the campaign, with the actual workers, the idea of a union grew less popular. So, today on the show, we look at Amazon's playbook for fighting back a union organizing drive, including the controversy of the mailbox.

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