Robert Reich (How Amazon, Starbucks and other companies are fighting…)

How Amazon, Starbucks and other companies are fighting unions

You, as a worker, have the legal right to join a union, but there are many ways large corporations get around the law to prevent you from getting your fair share. You can work for a union fighter and not even know it.

Here are four of the biggest anti-union ploys to watch out for:

First: anti-union propaganda.

Employers turn workers into captive audiences for making false or misleading statements about unions.


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In 2019, Delta distributed pamphlets to flight attendants and stair maintenance workers warning that union dues would cost $700 a year. But here’s what they didn’t mention: unionized workers earn $700. tomorrow per month.

Strange how they missed that part, isn’t it?

Amazon has plastered its warehouses with anti-union ads. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he had no choice but to exclude unionized store workers from the new employee benefits.

Obviously, when you’re the boss, you can just make up stuff.

Second, your employer hires trendy anti-union firms, lawyers, and consultants.

The company says it can’t afford to raise workers’ wages but spends millions on anti-union consultants. You may hear your superiors call it “Union Avoidance” but it basically just means “Suit Union Busting”.

Three: delay, delay, delay.

Employers do not have the right to cancel the vote on the issue of forming unions. But they are circumventing the law to prevent this vote for as long as possible.

And while they’re procrastinating, they’re doing dirty tricks to stop the union’s momentum. Before the recent labor elections in Buffalo, Starbucks flooded stores with managers to put pressure on workers. One Starbucks employee said he was told to go to a meeting, but six managers cheered him, forcing him to resign from the union.

That’s how many managers it takes to cheat an employee.

Fourth, if none of these anti-union tactics work, your employer may simply be breaking the law.

Starbucks recently fired more than twenty union leaders. Amazon fired union leader for missed work – even though he was on parental leave Family member with COVID. American employers are accused of violating federal law in more than 40% of all union campaigns.

Sorry, I just have to pause for a second here. 40% of the time? Really? If I broke the law 40% of the time, I’d be in jail faster than you could say “Pinkerton!”

Are companies allowed to circumvent the law in this way? Not! But it takes a long time to enforce labor laws, if they are enforced at all. And the worst that can happen is that a corporation must re-hire an employee it illegally fired and pay back wages. Not surprisingly, some companies decide that breaking the law is cheaper than following it. It’s just the “cost of doing business” for a giant corporation like Amazon.

But there’s good news: The bill, called the Trade Unions Act, will increase protection for union organizers and make many types of “union avoidance” illegal. Call your legislators and ask them to support this today.

They won’t just be on the right side of history. They will be on the right side of public opinion. Most Americans, including 77% of young peoplesupport the right to join a trade union. Starbucks and Amazon workers have given up on intimidation and have begun to unionize. Across the country, American workers are gaining experience in anti-union corporate ploys.

The big corporations are fighting dirty to keep their workers from organizing and they are still losing. Imagine what could happen if they had to fight fair.