The NLRB announced today that the unionization effort at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse was resoundingly defeated. Seventy percent of the votes counted opposed SEIU’s effort to represent this fulfillment center’s workers.
This union drive was publicly supported by President Biden along with many other democratic leaders and Hollywood celebrities. Amazon conducted an aggressive messaging campaign focused on the fact that these employees were already receiving solid wages and benefits and didn’t need union representation.
While the Union has stated its intention to file objections to the election results, history tells us that this appeal is unlikely to succeed. Despite the union’s loss, this should be a wake up call for tech companies- large and small- as well as other businesses that historically have not be subject to unionization efforts. The vibrant “minority” union initiative underway at Google coupled with the widespread pro-union publicity garnered during the Amazon organizing campaign should cause executives to carefully consider what proactive steps they should take right now to minimize the risk that their business is the next target of union activity.
So if your company doesn’t want to be next in the batter’s box, make sure you can answer “yes” to the following ten questions:
- Does your company’s culture reflect the needs and desires of its millennial and Gen Z workforce?
- Has your business decided whether and how to address social justice issues which may resonate with your workforce?
- Have you recently conducted an employee satisfactory survey and, if so, have you carefully considered and addressed the issues uncovered?
- Have you implemented an effective strategy to prevent and address harassment, bullying and discrimination?
- Do your employees have confidence that your HR department will take their concerns seriously?
- Have your recently reviewed your solicitation/distribution policy and is it being consistently enforced?
- Have you conducted an audit to ensure that your wage-hour practices are legally compliant?
- Do your employees have confidence that you are doing everything possible to protect their safety and heath?
- Have you conducted management training on preventative labor relations?
- Do you have a plan in place on what to do if a union comes knocking at your door?