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Amazon Workers Opt Out Of A Union

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"Just as a success would have been a major advance for the union, this is a blow. They failed to organize a small group of workers by a wide margin. It’s a good sign of just how difficult a comeback will be for organized labor -- and why progressives may need to look elsewhere for a 21st-century labor movement."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-17/amazon-workers-opt-out-of-a-union.html

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They know damn well the only way to get an acceptible wage is through tax credits and the yank equivalent. They can add up, and for all the obscene top level salaries, split between thousands of workers, its nothing.

Other than that, what do unions offer? job security? dont make me laugh. membership fees pilfered off to questionable political and 'charitable' organization's. no thanks.

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They know damn well the only way to get an acceptible wage is through tax credits and the yank equivalent. They can add up, and for all the obscene top level salaries, split between thousands of workers, its nothing.

Other than that, what do unions offer? job security? dont make me laugh. membership fees pilfered off to questionable political and 'charitable' organization's. no thanks.

Pushing Health and Safety, being able to independently investigate incidents. Unions only work if workers themselves are prepared to organise, if people cant be bothered theres nothing you can do.

Part of the union problem is many are stuck fighting in 1900 mode and havent moved on. Poor leadership at the top has compromised the union movement.

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Well if we are to believe the MPC unions were always surplus to requirements because productivity is in lockstep to wages- so as we become more productive our wages automatically rise accordingly. So it's quite strange that workers ever felt the need to organize at all.

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Worst jobs I've had were union firms. Had a shop steward tell me once 'Slow down lad, you're making the others look bad.' I quit and got a job in a non union place that was a hoot to work at. They once took on an ex shop steward who had swallowed the us versus them mantra. He'd be pointing out small breaches like width of stairs etc. He asked me what the procedure was for disputes. I relied that you go see the foreman. (Owners son.) What if he says no? Then explain your case better, if you've got a point he will acknowledge that. After 2 months he was loving it and had done a 180 on his union views. Unfortunately, management had overheard some of his earlier stuff and let him go after his 3 month trial. He was devastated.

Unions always seem to go for more wages rather than better jobs. Better in my definition meaning that the employees enjoy their work and aren't feeling brain dead at the end of their shift. Way better than being a highly paid zombie.

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Pushing Health and Safety, being able to independently investigate incidents. Unions only work if workers themselves are prepared to organise, if people cant be bothered theres nothing you can do.

Part of the union problem is many are stuck fighting in 1900 mode and havent moved on. Poor leadership at the top has compromised the union movement.

+1

My experience is that they are not interested in representing the younger demographic and therefore the younger demographic aren't at all interested in them. Last union I was in spent all their efforts protecting final salary pension schemes that most of us didn't have access to and actively negotiated worse contractual, pay and pension terms for new employees in order to achieve this. Tw*ts.

What's annoying is we could really do with a good labour movement right now, but there is none to be seen.

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+1

My experience is that they are not interested in representing the younger demographic and therefore the younger demographic aren't at all interested in them. Last union I was in spent all their efforts protecting final salary pension schemes that most of us didn't have access to and actively negotiated worse contractual, pay and pension terms for new employees in order to achieve this. Tw*ts.

What's annoying is we could really do with a good labour movement right now, but there is none to be seen.

Most of the muscle in the economy is devoted to pulling up various ladders ... property, pensions, jobs, health , education and locking in the gains on them for those already benefitting from it ... the future is grim for the young ...

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Unions are a problem when they go too far, when they become too powerful... Like anything.... We need balance and competing forces, or else the economy gets sick....

That's why it makes no sense to be pro-union or anti-union, a healthy society depends on balance... problem as I see it though is that the book of rules got written with little relationship to what would encourage productive investment, fair competition, and limits to power.... and what we are left with is a system corrupted at its core by the intentional incentives to perform towards an ideal of efficiency that was always wrong... but now those that laid out the rules are long dead and gone and those left to play the game are happy with the outcome.. because the winners prosper with little real need for competitive operational competency, which is hard, thanks to the evolution of securitised and financialised neoliberal globalisation... the problem with running the economy like we are playing a game is that games not only have a winner, but they come to an end... that is not exactly what you want an economy to do..

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Most of the muscle in the economy is devoted to pulling up various ladders ... property, pensions, jobs, health , education and locking in the gains on them for those already benefitting from it ... the future is grim for the young ...

Short term definitely. But are we really going to put up with this forever? There has to be a breaking point...

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Given that capital is always dominant in capitalist societies and controls most assets and power, strong unions are often the only effective counterweight for labour... but what happens more often than not is that union leaders and management join forces to screw the workers...

And unions are not the best way to protect workers... the best protection for workers is a strong economy with plenty of jobs... (and a generous guaranteed income, perhaps?) .. that way, they can leave a company that doesn't treat them well... (or start their own company)...

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Given that capital is always dominant in capitalist societies and controls most assets and power, strong unions are often the only effective counterweight for labour... but what happens more often than not is that union leaders and management join forces to screw the workers...

And unions are not the best way to protect workers... the best protection for workers is a strong economy with plenty of jobs... (and a generous guaranteed income, perhaps?) .. that way, they can leave a company that doesn't treat them well... (or start their own company)...

Theoretically yes, but only if you manage to stop it being swept up by increased profit margins on basic necessities...

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Guest unfunded_liability

Amazon Workers Opt Out Of A Union

Understandable really. They're grudgingly grateful to have a job, even as poorly paid as amazon, and will do nothing to jeopardise it.

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Given that Amazon uses zero hours contracts, its not hard to see how employees could have been pressurised into not opting to unionise.

A union has nowhere to go if an employer doesn't give an employee any hours when they are on zero hours, it would just be coincidence that any employees who were in the union would never get any work.

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Given that capital is always dominant in capitalist societies and controls most assets and power, strong unions are often the only effective counterweight for labour... but what happens more often than not is that union leaders and manageme

Is that true? What's the evidence? I suspect the 1970s story of abuse of union power had already passed its sell-by date in 1999, when Brown ramped up tax credits.

And unions are not the best way to protect workers... the best protection for workers is a strong economy with plenty of jobs... (and a generous guaranteed income, perhaps?) .. that way, they can leave a company that doesn't treat them well... (or start their own company)...

And that's the 1980s sequel to the union abuse story. Also in the remainder bin.

So far the balance is not shifting back.

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Worst jobs I've had were union firms. Had a shop steward tell me once 'Slow down lad, you're making the others look bad.' I quit and got a job in a non union place that was a hoot to work at. They once took on an ex shop steward who had swallowed the us versus them mantra. He'd be pointing out small breaches like width of stairs etc. He asked me what the procedure was for disputes. I relied that you go see the foreman. (Owners son.) What if he says no? Then explain your case better, if you've got a point he will acknowledge that. After 2 months he was loving it and had done a 180 on his union views. Unfortunately, management had overheard some of his earlier stuff and let him go after his 3 month trial. He was devastated.

Unions always seem to go for more wages rather than better jobs. Better in my definition meaning that the employees enjoy their work and aren't feeling brain dead at the end of their shift. Way better than being a highly paid zombie.

Did you doff you cap and tuck your forelock when the boss's son walked past?

Unions rightly had concerns regarding the health and safety of their members. I'm really not going to go into the entire history of the Union movement but you would do well to direct a cursory glance at a Wiki page or two on it.

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The bosses son was a bit of an airhead and was a wannabe playboy outside of work. If it looked like you knew what you were doing, he left you alone to do it. The employees there nicknamed the place 'The Skill Centre'. If a (non load bearing) wall needed building he'd ask who wanted to learn how to lay bricks. I taught myself how to operate a forklift during tea breaks and that become my job when one of the forklift guys left. The good old days before tick box management. I learned how to weld there too.

Sounds a recipe for disaster but there was no history of a serious accident. The owner liked to hire those with mental agility and common sense. He could suss that in a 5 minute verbal interview, I was asked nothing about previous employment. The err...slower employees were stuck to a production line and no authority to do anything else.

I'm acquainted with the history of the trade unions. I was an office worker opposite an old guy that used to be a docker and he told me about the crap that happened way back, including the NI fiddle that got worked on the dockers, having to pay bribes to get work etc. A pub I worked at had me regularly getting my ear bent by 2 commie barflys that truly believed the world owed them a living. By playing devils advocate in my dyed in the wool labour area I learned a lot. At the union place I asked the shop steward why a trade union didn't use some of its funds to start a business and show the world how it should be done...some BS then silence. Hey the Quakers managed it.

Yes there was a time when unions needed to be strong but they kept fighting battles when no longer needing to be strong arm. (Orders from Moscow?) The better ones nowadays act as mediators for individual employees rather than seeing a strike as a victory in the us versus them battle.

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Poor leadership at the top has compromised the union movement.

The leaders are,in my experience,anything but poor.Like many politicians they are in it for what they can get.

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Unions are a problem when they go too far, when they become too powerful... Like anything.... We need balance and competing forces, or else the economy gets sick....

That's why it makes no sense to be pro-union or anti-union, a healthy society depends on balance... problem as I see it though is that the book of rules got written with little relationship to what would encourage productive investment, fair competition, and limits to power.... and what we are left with is a system corrupted at its core by the intentional incentives to perform towards an ideal of efficiency that was always wrong... but now those that laid out the rules are long dead and gone and those left to play the game are happy with the outcome.. because the winners prosper with little real need for competitive operational competency, which is hard, thanks to the evolution of securitised and financialised neoliberal globalisation... the problem with running the economy like we are playing a game is that games not only have a winner, but they come to an end... that is not exactly what you want an economy to do..

¬This.. a balance has to be struck. Clearly Scargill at one end of the spectrum did nothing to forward the role of trade unions, but many are doing good work out there.

Learning centres for example are springing up in workplaces across the land along with learning agreements allowing workers time off in company time to study in employer/Trade Union partnerships to better themselves.

If it was not for the trade unions important pieces of legislation would not be on the statutes. Health and Safety at work act is quite obviously one of these and whilst it often comes in for the hard knock this one act did more to improve safety in the workplace (improving upon the provisions of the old Factories Act) than anything in generations before. Equal pay Act is another and love or hate it they were instrumental in the application of the minimum wage.

Modern progressive trade unions work in partnership with the employer, they meet regularly to discuss all sorts of things. Clearly there will be times when they cannot agree on something such as a pay rise but this is now detailed in local agreements with a grievance procedure (collective) where an independent arbiter (usually someone from ACAS) will deliberate and find for one party or the other or somewhere in-between with the decision binding on both parties.

The first role of a Trade Union is the protection of employment, everything else is secondary to this. One year (as a convener) I was involved in a negotiation where it was a (small pay rise and a few redundancies or no pay rise and no redundancies). Clearly to operate in the majority interest we would have chosen the pay rise. We did not and carried 100% of the membership behind us. Company was struggling at the time and the honest and open dialogue that we maintained meant that we all understood this.

Its all very well whinging and moaning that the Union was not working for you, but you need to remember any Trade Union is the sum of its members.

Get in there if you don't like, speak out gather support from your colleagues, stand for election and get into the decision making roles. The demographic suggests that at some point there will be a tipping point if it is young vs old.

Sit on your backside doing nothing solves little.

As for the leaders and the man's politics aside for the moment lets examine Bob Crowe. Leader of the RMT. He is employed by his members to better their Terms and Conditions. No one can say he has done this badly, it can be argued that he is as successful as say Richard Branson, certainly from his members POV.

Clearly if you are a Tube Driver Crowe is the best thing since slices bread. If you are a hard pressed commuter then he is a tosser of the highest order.

Yes he has a bit of power to wield to achieve his ends but who allowed that much power to flow to one Trade Union? Banks also have a lot of power and can cause a hell of a lot more damage than a Trade Union. Again who allows the power to flow to banks?

Branson is the nice guy but he gambles with Millions of savers money every day.

There is a much bigger picture here. The employees at Amazon are worse off for their decision this morning. Happily the legislation guarantees that they will get another opportunity in the future.

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There is a much bigger picture here. The employees at Amazon are worse off for their decision this morning. Happily the legislation guarantees that they will get another opportunity in the future.

The only opportunity they would have had if they'd voted for a union was the opportunity to look for a new job. Amazon would just accelerate their automation plans with all that lovely, lovely cheap credit the government is throwing around.

These are short-term jobs. No-one is going to be doing them in ten years. The only question is how fast they go away.

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Pushing Health and Safety, being able to independently investigate incidents. Unions only work if workers themselves are prepared to organise, if people cant be bothered theres nothing you can do.

Part of the union problem is many are stuck fighting in 1900 mode and havent moved on. Poor leadership at the top has compromised the union movement.

Don't you not think we are moving in that direction, Next stage the workhouse?

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There is no real reason not to unionise if your a low paid worker, the mere fact that amazon alledgedly went out of their way to hold worker breifings to discourage membership should tell them all they need to know.

the phrase "turkeys voting for xmas" springs to mind.

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the phrase "turkeys voting for xmas" springs to mind.

Gulp gobble gobble. I can see union membership surging given the continued attacks on workers.

Edited by PopGun

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Gulp gobble gobble. I can see union membership surging given the continued attacks on workers.

Can't see it myself - the conditions are already in place, but nobody does anything. My guess is that the trend to self-employment comes with diminishing bargaining power.

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The only opportunity they would have had if they'd voted for a union was the opportunity to look for a new job. Amazon would just accelerate their automation plans with all that lovely, lovely cheap credit the government is throwing around.

These are short-term jobs. No-one is going to be doing them in ten years. The only question is how fast they go away.

The other question is who Amazon will be selling to if everyone else follows their example and invests in labor saving technology.

You are not wrong though- as calls for wage rises increase companies will indeed take advantage of all that cheap central bank funded money to reduce their workforce- kind of ironic given that QE was supposed to lead to job creation, rather than funding job elimination.

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