A year ago, all eyes were on the unionization election at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, where illegal union suppression tactics by Amazon helped sink the drive. Thanks to a court order, that vote is about to be rerun.

By Alex N. Press, Jacobin

It’s a moment of increased bargaining power for the US working class. Workers on the order of millions are quitting their jobs and finding new ones that will pay them better. Those with unions are more willing to fight to begin undoing prior concessions, their confidence bolstered by the realization that employers will have more trouble than usual replacing them should they strike; that these fights do not approach the level of struggle of the 1970s, much less the 1930s, do not make them insignificant. And the momentum is with reformers within unions: see recent efforts to transform the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters, two still mighty organizations even after sustained and systematic decline.

amazon boxes stacked upside down making a frown face

That is the context in which another union election at an Amazon warehouse is about to be held. On February 4, workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility — of greater renown than perhaps any of its hundreds of peers across the country — will receive ballots for a mail-in vote. The vote is a rerun of the effort last year to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which ended with a majority of ballots cast against unionizing, the result on the order of a two-to-one vote. While both Amazon and RWDSU desired an in-person vote this time — last year, RWDSU wanted a mail-in process, while Amazon wanted the vote to take place in person — the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) chose to again hold the election through mail-in balloting.

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