🇺🇸 Organizing E-Labor
February 22, 2022

Good morning, and happy Tuesday! We hope everyone had a wonderful Presidents Day. In case you missed it, here is some advice and guidance from Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln that can be applied to today's America.

Plus, an abandoned ship that caught fire in the mid-Atlantic last week was carrying $401 million worth of cars, including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini models, an insurance estimate has revealed.

Also, we found a great pair of touchscreen gloves that will keep your hands warm as you scroll on your phone. That and more as we dive into the day.

Flag Polls


ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 2/21: Direction of Country, Rasmussen Reports Right Track 29
Wrong Track 66
R 2/20: Texas Governor, Dallas Morning News Abbott 45,
O'Rourke 38
R 2/18: Gen. Congress Vote, Rasmussen Reports Democrats 37,
Republican 50

Trending On The Left


CNN: Fox's Neil Cavuto said a second case of Covid-19 nearly killed him

WaPo: Democrats are engaged in a ‘new politics of evasion’ that could cost them in 2024, new study says

Huff PostSchool Diversity Strides Across The US Upended By Right-Wingers

Trending On The Right


Fox News: Left-wing group that targeted pipeline accused of 'white supremacy culture'

Breitbart: Bidenflation Runs Hot Sending Rents Soaring Across the Country

The Blaze: Canadian police vow to 'identify' protesters and issue 'financial sanctions'

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QUICK CLICKS

Russia-Ukraine Escalates, Trump's New Twitter, England Ends Its COVID Rules


World: Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine (WSJ / subscription)

World: Boris Johnson announces the end of Covid restrictions in England (CNN)

US: Trump’s TRUTH Social launches at the top of the App Store, but no one can get in (TechCrunch)

US: At least 6 stabbed in NYC subway system after mayor announces new safety plan (NBC)

US: Hank the Tank: A massive bear has broken into dozens of homes in Lake Tahoe (NPR)

US: Houses of Worship Face Clergy Shortage as Many Resign During Pandemic (WSJ / subscription)

US: JPMorgan now sees Fed hiking interest rates 9 times to combat red-hot inflation (Fox Business

LABOR

Organizing E-Labor

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York City will vote next month on whether or not to form a union. This comes as workers at an Amazon Fresh store in Seattle voted to unionize, while a vote-by-mail campaign is underway among workers at an Alabama warehouse—marking the second time that group’s held a union vote.

Reporting from The Left: “The battle to unionize Amazon workers is intensifying. … The elections will also once again put a spotlight back on Amazon and how it treats its workers. Pro-union warehouse workers have complained of long shifts and little time to take breaks. Amazon is the nation's second largest private employer behind Walmart. ‘We look forward to having our employees’ voices heard,’ said Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel in a statement.” (ABC News)

Reporting from The Right: “Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee, tweeted that the [NYC] election will be held March 25-30. He further noted that the election will be in-person rather than mail-in ballots. Unions need to garner support from at least 30% of workers who are eligible to vote in order to hold an official election under the supervision of the US National Labor Relations Board, according to the agency's policies.” (Fox Business)

From the Flag: Discussion of Amazon unionization has spilled over into a larger debate concerning workers’ rights and the value of unions in general.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Unions Sound Like A Good Idea, Until You Join


Right-leaning commentators say people tend to express positive feelings about unions yet prefer not to join one themselves. A business advocacy group in Alabama argues the federal government is overly friendly to pro-union groups, while another writer contends unions are historically bad for women and their career advancement.

“Big Labor’s Resurgence That Wasn’t” Michael Saltsman, The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: “The Economist predicts ‘2022 will be the year of the worker.’ Interest in organizing is ‘infectiously spreading from workplace to workplace,’ the New Republic claims … but thinking well of unions and wanting to pay dues to be represented by one aren’t the same. I recently moderated focus groups of workers 18 to 29 in the Midwest and on the East and West coasts. While most said positive things about unions, only a handful wanted to join one. The election losses at companies such as Amazon, Nissan, and Volkswagen—which unions expected to win—reflect this ambivalence. Unions lost about half of all National Labor Relations Board-supervised elections in 2021. … There is some good news for organized labor. In recent months, Workers United … organized two Starbucks locations in Buffalo, NY, and filed for elections in roughly two dozen other stores nationwide. … Meanwhile, many baristas may realize, as millions of Americans before them did, that with a union, you don’t always get what you bargain for.”

“Another bite at the Amazon apple” Freda Bacon, Alabama Political Reporter Op-Ed: “After two full years of economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, employers throughout the country continue to face headwinds. In some cases, those headwinds are caused by a federal government that should be helping employers, not hindering them. … It is not much of a secret that the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) has been attempting to be the collective bargaining representative of Amazon’s Bessemer, Ala., employees, but the problem for the RWDSU is the fact that the employees at that facility already had an election last April and voted against having the union represent them. … The NLRB won’t accept the result. Instead, they’ve decided to order yet another election based on a series of spurious complaints filed by the union that lost. This is disruptive both for workers and the company. Workers have the right to join a union. But when they decline to do so, government’s job shouldn’t be to disregard that decision.”

“Unions are failing women” Josephine Bartosch, Unherd: “There’s a paradox at the heart of unions; on the one hand they exist to protect the interests of the majority in workplaces, but on the other, there is a default view that all minorities are discriminated against and in need of protection.” Keep reading.

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Come Together: And Push Back Against Amazon Now


Commentary from the left says if Amazon was serious about its stated desire to become the “world’s best employer,” workers would get more breaks and not be subjected to computer algorithms that measure productivity. There’s an argument that workers will struggle in their bid to unionize given Amazon’s strength and size. Finally, one writer says members of organized labor must be willing to put aside differences and band together to reach common goals.

“Amazon chews through the average worker in eight months. They need a union” Steven Greenhouse, The Guardian: “It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that Amazon warehouse workers would benefit from having a union. The average Amazon warehouse worker leaves within just eight months – that’s an unmistakable sign that Amazon’s jobs are unpleasant, to put it kindly, and that many Amazon workers quickly realize they hate working there because of the stress, breakneck pace, constant monitoring, and minimal rest breaks. … In this way, working at Amazon resembles working at a poultry processing plant, where workers often wear adult diapers to work because their bosses frequently tell them they can’t take a break right now. … However much Bezos detests unions, there’s one thing Bezos can’t honestly deny –unions would be a surefire way for Amazon to become a better employer. … Not only should Amazon stop fighting so hard to block unionization, as it has in Alabama, Staten Island, and elsewhere, but it should roll out the red carpet for union organizers.”

“Do Today’s Unions Have a Fighting Chance Against Corporate America?” E. Tammy Kim, The New York Times: “The methods for organizing at Amazon are still in flux; there simply isn’t a single correct way to confront one of the largest, richest corporations in the world. … For all the energy around unionizing, it is a daunting time to organize, especially in the private sector. Unions have been weak for decades — and corporations have only become stronger. In 2000, 13.5 percent of the United States workforce was unionized; now, only 10.3 percent is. … The thing about organizing at work is that, because everyone who isn’t in management is in the union, you have to get over your differences — or at least set them on a high shelf. … That’s why, I think, businesses fight even small unions from the jump. Imagine multiplying such unity, office to store to factory to hospital, in every city and state. What couldn’t we win?”

“LEAKED AUDIO: Amazon Union Buster Warns Workers ‘Things Could Become Worse’” Jason Koebler and Lauren Kaori Gurley, VICE: “An Amazon union avoidance official told employees at JFK8, Amazon’s largest New York City warehouse, that if they unionize, certain workers could see their salaries reduced to minimum wage, or that negotiations could start with minimum wage as a baseline, according to leaked audio from the mandatory anti-union meeting that took place Wednesday.” Keep reading.

FLAG THIS

Polling: Unions Grow In Popularity, Activity Level Rises


Polling conducted last summer shows 68% of Americans support unions, the highest level seen in over 50 years. The same survey found 77% of adults aged 18-34 approve, along with 72% of those earning less than $40,000 per year (Gallup). Meanwhile, as of earlier this month, workers at 78 Starbucks locations across 23 states had filed petitions to join a union (Starbucks Workers United).

Flag Poll: Are unions generally a good idea for workers in warehousing and retail? Join our discussion here.

FLAG FINDS

Take Your Vitamins, Protect Your Hands, And Feel The Power!


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WATERCOOLER

Miracle on Ice, Ugly Shoes, British Toilet Water Shortage

On February 22, 1980, in one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog US hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. Above is the March 3, 1980 issue of Sports Illustrated, covering the victory. 

Bloomberg: The Rise of the $2.5 Billion Ugly-Shoe Empire

Good Housekeeping: The Art of Kakeibo, the Japanese Budgeting System That Could Change Your Financial Life

Pocket Collections: How To Start a Digital Detox

Today I Learned more than 30 million viewers in Britain tuned in to watch the BBC “Royal Family” documentary in 1969. During the intermission, the flushing of toilets all over London caused a water shortage.

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