Amazon Workers Fight to Improve Working Conditions

Amazon employees continue efforts to unionize despite pressure from the e-commerce giant.

By Michelle Jones

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to face pressure from workers in Alabama, who are voting on whether to unionize. Meanwhile, employees are facing increased pressure from the e-commerce giant, which has been overwhelming them with anti-union material.

Amazon employees want changes to working conditions

According to Fox Business, while workers at the Bessemer, Ala. warehouse vote on whether to unionize, employees at other locations are pushing for changes to working conditions. They're collecting signatures on petitions and talking about the possibility of striking. They're also reportedly speaking with unions about potential demands.

The groups want to change Amazon's policies on the rate at which workers must get packages ready, break time and shift schedules. According to employees, all these factors could make the e-commerce giant a physically challenging place to work. They also point to significant issues with Amazon's planned expansion and its goal of accelerating delivery times.

The vote at the Bessemer warehouse will wrap up on March 29. If the vote passes, the warehouse will become the first Amazon warehouse to unionize. For it to pass, the union requires 50% plus one employee to vote in favor of it.

Amazon tries to influence workers against unions

Business Insider reports that Amazon has stepped up its efforts to convince workers in Bessemer not to unionize. The news outlet spoke with two employees about their fight against the company's anti-union efforts.

Darryl Richardson's call to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union set up this month's vote to unionize at the warehouse. He said Amazon is righting them hard to try to keep the union out of its warehouse.

The company argues that workers would have to pay dues to a union and claims that it offers benefits they already have. An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that the company already offers "industry-leading pay, comprehensive benefits from the first day on the job, opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment.

Jennifer Bates, another Bessemer employee who testified before a Senate subcommittee earlier this month, said Amazon "brags it pays workers above the minimum wage." She added that they don't say "what those jobs are really like, and they certainly don't tell you what they can afford."

Amazon is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is one of the richest people in the world, and his wealth has triggered questions about why the company is fighting so hard to keep unions out of its locations.

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