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The New York Times this morning has a story about how Amazon is working to influence unionization votes taking place at facilities in New York and Alabama.

An excerpt:

"On Staten Island, Amazon supervisors often refer to them as 'training.' At an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, supervisors refer to them ambiguously as 'meetings.' Amazon says they’re officially 'small group meetings.'

"Whatever Amazon calls them, the anti-union sessions that the company has held for employees this year have been part of an effort to fend off unions in two contentious elections … Amazon has used the regular meetings, which typically include a few dozen employees and last roughly 30 minutes, to create a false impression of what unionizing would entail, the union supporters said.

"In a video message played for workers at a recent meeting on Staten Island, the company said of the union: 'From their Twitter handle to their chants, their answer to most things is they should shut down Amazon. How would that solve anything?'"

The Times goes on:  "Amazon says that deciding whether or not to unionize is up to employees and that the mandatory meetings are intended to educate workers about what a union could mean for them. The company cites its competitive pay — just under $16 per hour for a full-time entry-level worker in Alabama and over $18 per hour on Staten Island — and benefits, which include health care benefits for full-time employees as soon as they join the company."

And, some context from the Times:

"Employees at the warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., are voting on whether to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Ballots in the mail-in election, which the labor board sent out in early February, are due Friday and will be counted shortly after.

"A union win at either facility — each employs more than 5,000 workers — would be the first in Amazon’s history in the United States and would almost certainly alter the labor model that makes same-day delivery possible. But the odds for the unions remain long.

"The Amazon Labor Union qualified for the Staten Island election only on its second try, after failing to sign up the 30 percent of employees it needed in its initial petition to the N.L.R.B. Organizers typically seek to sign up a majority of eligible workers before filing for an election because attrition is common once a union campaign begins.

"The retail workers union is on its second election at the Amazon warehouse in Alabama, having lost by a more than 2-to-1 ratio last year. The labor board later ordered a revote after it concluded that Amazon had violated election rules, but unions tend to lose in so-called rerun elections."

KC's View:

If I had to bet, it would be on a split decision - Amazon could lose in New York and win in Alabama.  But, to be honest, that's just a guess.

I don't think unionizing solves all of the Amazon workforce's problems, but I do think that there are issues with which Amazon is not dealing … certainly not with the kind of innovative perspicacity that it brings to so many other challenges and opportunities.