Amazon-Dominating the Marketplace, and workers’ rights, since 1996

Amazon has, in only the past couple of decades, became the go-to site for many people’s shopping needs, from groceries, to toys, to parts for a lawn mower. Amazon’s sleek interface doesn’t only drag in consumers, however, but also employees, as the company employs nearly 1.3 million people worldwide. And, with a self-proclaimed forward-thinking work environment with $15 per hour starting wages, you’d expect these workers to be happy. However, Amazon’s own employees have had many complaints over the years, many stemming from the company’s efforts to squash unionization of their warehouses. Why would such a progressive company kill off such a generic right for workers to unionize?

Being the largest internet retailer in history, Amazon’s anti-union activities can be traced all the way back to its founding by Jeff Bezos, its current CEO and founder. He has always had a mentality of “controlling the ecosystem”, whether that entails his technology or his employees.

He’s been seen in the past as being a more autocratic leader than a democratic one, usually surrounding himself with lower-level management that wouldn’t step up to his level.

He has , however, appeared to be a more micromanaging figure in the company, therefore bringing his style of leadership into every aspect of the company, from the top down. And it doesn’t help that he surrounds himself with those who are still in positions of power, but still are impressionable to his tactics.

Since its founding, Amazon has tried to avoid unions. Now is no different. What we’re seeing in Bessemer, Alabama, or Staten Island, New York, are just some more modern, and extreme, examples of corporate Amazon’s push against workers’ rights to unionize.

When they caught wind of the efforts to unionize after protests against the sub-par Covid safety conditions at their warehouses, Amazon quickly sprung into action, spreading what can only be described as misinformation, which is as follows:


If approached to sign a union authorization card, know the facts!


          Protect Your Signature: You are under no obligation to speak with or to share your personal contact information with anyone off property, especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable.


          Speak For Yourself: Union authorization cards are legally binding and authorize the union to act as your exclusive representative. This means you give up the right to speak for yourself.


          Don’t Sign Away Your Choices: Signing a union authorization card may also obligate you to pay the union a monthly fee.


While some of these statements are technically correct, some are not, such as stating that union authorization cards give up your right to speak for yourself. These are also, quite obviously, biased against workers joining the unionization movement.

Amazon had even worse tricks up its sleeve, however, when it decided to begin creating fake social media profiles for make-believe Amazon workers to try to trick actual employees into voting “No” for the unionization efforts.

This would be some of Amazon’s worst attempts at union-busting, as these accounts began popping up everywhere, and were quickly tracked down to Amazon’s corporate headquarters. While they were eventually banned by Twitter and the other platforms that hosted them, they certainly had an impact on those who believed that they were legitimate co-workers.

Amazon would eventually get its way, and unionization efforts in one of Amazon’s largest warehouses in Bessemer, Alabama failed, most likely due to corporate’s union-busting attempts.

So what is being done about it? Well, more progressive politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have been on Amazon’s rear for years about tax and financial issues, and this unionization issue is one more to add to a slew of ones they can take with the conglomerate. Now, Senators, congresspeople, and even the president, many of which aren’t as progressive as Bernie or AOC, are putting political pressure on Amazon to allow their workers their right to unionize.

Will we see Amazon workers unionize in the near future? Possibly, if Bezos and others at their corporate office come to a better conclusion. But for now, their fight wages on.