With union talks ending, what will the future of work look like?

The+only+way+to+find+a+solution+Amazon+workers+want+without+unnecessary+risk%2C+is+something+between+unionization+and+corporate+control.

Mimi Huelster

The only way to find a solution Amazon workers want without unnecessary risk, is something between unionization and corporate control.

Amazon workers attempted to form a union this spring, saying that Amazon’s working conditions were inhumane. The vote in Alabama ended as a loss for the union, with 1,798 votes against and only 738 votes supporting. Roughly half of the workers in the warehouse voted, but the results were clear and the proposal rejected. A few of the workers who pushed for the union filed a case against Amazon for corrupting the results by union-busting, and the case is still waiting to be heard. However, the reason the union did not go through was not entirely due to corruption, as what the workers need isn’t full union power or full corporate power. What the workers need to advocate for is something in the middle, where they can be comfortable voicing their opinions while protecting their livelihood.

If Amazon found a way for workers to make decisions on conditions, possibly in the form of a worker’s committee that works hand-in-hand with corporate as a bridge, there likely would be a lot of change with a little conflict.”

The vote is telling. Many of the workers who voted against said that they believed Amazon’s conditions and wages required alteration but that a union was not the correct way to go about getting those changes, likely because a union can create even more worry over the workers’ jobs. Even though workers cannot legally be fired or demoted for unionizing, there are still loopholes that large companies have used in the past and are still using today to get around this, so many workers still feel as though they are risking their job or pay by joining a union.

The only way to find a solution Amazon workers want without unnecessary risk, is something between unionization and corporate control. If this “something” were in existence, the union efforts would likely not have been started or thought needed, and there would also be much easier discussion over conditions between corporate and workers. The issue is this “something” has not been created yet, and will likely require the effort of both workers and corporate to be created.

If Amazon found a way for workers to make decisions on conditions, possibly in the form of a worker’s committee that works hand-in-hand with corporate as a bridge, there likely would be a lot of change with a little conflict. If workers and people in corporate presented an idea of how to discuss worker’s rights collectively, it might be the solution they’re all searching for.

While a union is not what the workers ultimately needed at Amazon, it was a stepping stone in understanding what truly is required for the furthering of workers’ rights.