Monday, September 1, 2014

News
Amazon warehouse workers voting on union
by Chris Patterson


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Thirty workers at an Amazon warehouse in Delaware are voting Wednesday evening on whether to form a union.
 
The workers, who repair and keep the equipment running at the Middletown facility, are hoping a union can help them establish more consistent policies when it comes to promotions, raises and vacations, said John Carr, spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which is helping organize the workers. This would be the first union at an Amazon facility, according to Carr.
 
A simple majority of voting employees is required.
 
An Amazon spokeswoman said the company provides competitive wages and comprehensive benefits.
 
"We respect the individual rights of our associates and have an open-door policy that allows and encourages associates to bring their comments, questions and concerns directly to their management teams," said Mary Osako, an Amazon spokeswoman. "We firmly believe this direct connection is the most effective way to understand and respond to the needs of our workforce and do not believe there is a need for third-party representation."
 
Carr said the company has called the workers into meetings to tell them why they don't need a union.
 
The Delaware union vote is the latest worker uprising for Amazon. Hundreds of Amazon staff in Germany walked off the job in mid-December in a long-running dispute over pay. The strike involved three of Amazon Germany's nine distribution centers. It was called by the Verdi labor union, which wants the company to negotiate.
 

"The workers want to get paid fair wages and they want to be treated decently by their employer," said Verdi Chairman Frank Bsirske. "We are not going to let a big American company come here and play Wild West. This is a clash of cultures."