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  • beebee
    edited March 2021
    Political Pressure on CEO Pay and Taxation:
    Sanders invited Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify at the Budget Committee hearing, but he declined to appear. Bezos’s salary was $81,840 in 2019, as it has been for many years. But the company calculates his total compensation as nearly $1.7 million. Bezos, who also own The Washington Post, is currently the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $182 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    Jennifer Bates, an Amazon worker at the company’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., testified about the unionization efforts there, saying that the company had been trying aggressively to get workers to back down.

    Bates said the company had been holding meetings to discourage workers from joining the union, sometimes multiple times a week. Amazon has also been texting workers and posting fliers in bathroom stalls urging workers to vote no on the effort.
    Article from his Newspaper (Washington Post):
  • I dunno LB, you might be swaying me...why the F don't they have unions at Amazon...they work hard, those employees.

    I know folks who used to work at a AMZN warehouse and they cut 20 lbs of weight in no time.

    How can UPS pay a decent wage, have unions, are well run (Carol Tome IS the real deal), associates are well motivated and provide professional good service (I've never had a bad experience with anything to do with UPS) and you're (well, not you LB) telling me AMZN can't have a union?

    Bigger question is how they (Amazon) only pay so little in taxes, are you sheeting me?

    Don't even get me started on the ESG stuff...I was talking to a neighbor for 45 minutes and three different AMZN trucks pulled up nearby and each delivered three different small packages to different homes.


    Baseball Fan
  • @LewisBraham: thanks for those links. The anti-union stuff reminds me of the lengths Sears went to keep unions out. FedEx is not unionized, while UPS is; I would like to see a comparison from both management and labor perspectives. We are a union household, retired. I find it hard to imagine boycotting Amazon because we do rely on many of their products and services: Amazon Music, Echo, Eero, to say nothing of the stuff we order. I’m sure many were conflicted about supporting the strike against GM in the 30’s, yet the success of the UAW in establishing terms and conditions of employment for their members certainly paved the way for the creation of the very middle class our country now sees fading into the twilight. I remain dumbfounded by the ease with which bastions of the labor movement, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin became “right to work” states without much real opposition from those who needed and benefited from being organized.
  • @BenWP- My father's generation understood and appreciated the value of union representation because they had to fight like hell to organize. Our cohort (I'm 81) heard enough around the dinner table to grow up also appreciating the unions, but we probably didn't pass on much of that history to our children. The next generations really have no clue, but it's possible that they may just be on the threshold of figuring it out for themselves.
  • Children today would ask, what's a picket line? Some kind of fence ? Been there , done that.
    Stay safe Derf
  • beebee
    edited March 2021
    Seem we picket (protest) the social / constitutional contracts of our "publicly" run country rather than our "publicly" owned companies...public safety & health, political representation, Individual freedom, entitlement programs, etc. fall at the feet of political, not corporate leaders.

    Even solutions to good old income inequality (protests, pickets, scabs, etc. for better pay) are being solved at the government level these days with concessions like stimulus and universal Income.

    By design? I wonder.
  • I wonder if it is done by design also @bee but I'm willing to bet that we believe that for different reasons.
  • Interesting read (1991):
    Thomas Geoghegan, labor lawyer, Which Side Are You On? Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back.
    He helped claw back some benefits for Indiana and Wisconsin steel mill workers.
  • I read the book "Jungle" in high school and came to appreciate the meat packer's hard lives withouut unionized labor. Also think about the sweat shop oversea where they produce cheap clothing for the developed countries. Can't imagine if their working condition improved much during this pandemic.
  • edited March 2021
    Union? Give me a reliable phone number when problems arise and someone on the other end who speaks English. At this point I’m finding it better to swallow the loss on some defective electronic items rather than to continue crashing the boards in a futile attempt to get through to a real human.
  • I should have placed the below links in order of dates, but anyway..... there are some portions within the links below to YouTube videos, aside from the actual full length movie or documentary (PBS). The links are broad based so that you may look at whatever related; and present a view of union/company power struggles.

    Companies and unions, the battle between the two; and IMHO is simply based with a system of honor between management/the company and the workers. A form of equality or fairness between making a reasonable profit for a company and a reasonable wage to an employee for their effort in helping making the profit. Sadly, honor is a most difficult condition for a human(s) to maintain.
    Over many years power and corruption have afflicted both groups.
    The modern era example links below, have long and deep roots from time periods long ago. Also, that the time frames below only reflect some of the larger events; while many such events were taking place in many smaller actions all across the U.S. wherever one found an industrial era operation.

    As an 18 y.o. I worked for GM for 16 months, and was a UAW member by default. Not a large learning experience for me at the time, as my brain cells were not fully developed , regarding a union. My largest first time observation of the factory world was the changing of the flavors in the soda/pop vending machines placed through out the enormous facility. The week before major holidays found that any beverage flavor that did not mix well with vodka or a whisky were removed and replaced with a highly favored mixer. Yes, management was fully aware of a high percentage of the work force who were using alcohol during work hours. I knew two shift foreman (management) who had a good buzz in place, periodically; during their 12 hour shift. An old joke was, "Don't buy a new car/truck built during the holidays"........quality control ??? From the alcohol of the 50's through 70's, came weed, coke and other used by employees. Sadly, the protection of union members, by the unions, traveled too far beyond the norm; attempting to protect against anything that was not an actual murder on company property. So much for what should have remained anything to do with being honorable. EX: Assembly line workers taking turns "clocking out, old mechanical time clocks" one another out at the end of a shift, when they had already left the building after 1 hour of work. Problem: True story. Fella left work early, crossed through a nearby rail yard, caught shoe/foot in track/switch unit, needed recuse unit to free foot and had to be taken to hospital emergency from the injury. Appealed that he had a family emergency and had to leave work early; and no other actions were taken against him.
    The Flint, Michigan sit-down strike had a significant impact to the work landscape for many years. The benefits of this action flowed into the non-union wages and benefits, too; at least in Michigan.

    Too many other stories about the companies and the unions; the power and the corruption that plague both of them to this day. But, I'm done; and hope the write flow is not too disruptive.

    Matewan coal mining strike, 1920's, fact based

    Homestead Carnegie steel strike, 1892, fact based

    The Molly Maguires 1970 movie circa 1870's, book/movie inspired by true events.

    Copper Country strike, 1913, fact based

    The game changer, Flint Michigan, sit-down strike, 1936-1937

    Michigan, right to work law , an at will employee
    A further restriction/addition to this law was signed by the governor in 2013; regarding union membership. Prior employee (non-union) rights already had many restrictions to rights of employment in Michigan. A real world example took place in 2003, of which; I was witness. A company was re-shaping their employee base and terminated 4 people who were in their late 50's-early 60's and not yet at a full retirement age. A "no charge" meeting was held with a pro-labor attorney, regarding that this action appeared to be a "age related discrimination" related termination(s). He offered his experience with such actions and stated that this was a no win case; as if one did not have a series of annual reviews over the years that were graded an "excellent", no basis could be brought forth. So, when one is graded via an annual work review, and there are 10 areas of grading, each area must be the equivalent of "excellent", the highest possible rating. This indeed, would be a rare event in any employee's career. The terminations remained in place. My personal note, is that these 4 where honorable and ethical persons who gave a good days work to the company.
  • hank said:

    Union? Give me a reliable phone number when problems arise and someone on the other end who speaks English. At this point I’m finding it better to swallow the loss on some defective electronic items rather than to continue crashing the boards in a futile attempt to get through to a real human.

    Same here. Though in Amazon's defense, I've never had a problem w/them either on the phone or via chat with returning defective/damaged items.
  • Actually, I haven't either.
  • edited March 2021
    From the New Yorker article:
    The Democratic congressman Andy Levin, of Michigan, a union stalwart, has described it as “the most important election for the working class in this country in the twenty-first century.” On Monday, the Reverend Dr. William Barber, as prominent a figure as exists in the modern civil-rights movement, travelled to Alabama and said, “Bessemer is now our Selma.”

    That this election is about the future has something to do with the workers themselves, who embody the political transformation of the South to which progressives pin their dreams. According to union officials, a majority of the people employed at the facility, which is outside of Birmingham, are Black, and a majority are women....

    ....The Amazon union drive has drawn a rare intensity out of the usual suspects. Abrams, Levin, and Bernie Sanders have announced their support for it, and so has President Joe Biden, who recorded a strong message encouraging the organizers and discouraging any effort to interfere with them. It has also drawn some unusual allies, above all the conservative Republican senator Marco Rubio, of Florida, who published an op-ed in USA Today declaring his support for the organizing workers and his opposition to Amazon’s ways: “The days of conservatives being taken for granted by the business community are over.”

    Amazon’s influence is so vast—touching on issues from wealth and income inequality to antitrust policy, the American relationship with China, the omnipotence of workplace surveillance, and the atomizing effect of big business, in its most concentrated and powerful form, on families and communities—that it can scramble ordinary politics. For a moment, at least, it can put Marco Rubio and Stacey Abrams on the same side. Most organizing campaigns have a symbolic quality, in which the employer and its workers stand for different models of economic organization. The fight in Bessemer is different because it is so direct. Amazon isn’t a proxy for the future of the economy but its heart.

    A year into a pandemic that has kept many Americans cooped up at home, ordering supplies and streaming their entertainment, seems an unpromising time to take on Amazon, which supplies many of those services. Amazon’s revenue grew by nearly forty per cent in 2020, and its workforce grew by about fifty per cent; Jeff Bezos’s wealth reportedly increased by nearly seventy billion dollars last year. The company has become so ubiquitous that even to inquire about it entangles you in its machinery: type “is Amazon popular?” into a search engine and you might find, as I did, that most of the top results are books about popularity which are sold on Amazon. You can find evidence that Amazon both is and isn’t popular in survey data. In one poll, ninety-one per cent of respondents said that they had a favorable view of Amazon; in another, fifty-nine per cent thought the company was bad for small business. To count on broad opposition to Amazon right now is to assume such cognitive dissonance: that Americans may increasingly rely on Amazon and view it favorably while also believing that the company needs to change....

    ...What is rare about the Bessemer campaign is how neatly it encapsulates the modern economic system—it is, in many ways, a pinnacle of a pinnacle. Amazon represents an extreme expression of the twenty-first century’s extreme inequality and concentration of wealth and economic power, which has already changed the Democratic Party and some elements of the G.O.P. The Bessemer facility represents Amazon’s system fully realized, and so it carries one potential future for work. The union proposition is that, in Amazon, in Bezos, in Bessemer, after a year of the pandemic, the whole system can be seen clearly. Now the choice belongs to those six thousand workers. Appelbaum suspects that the early vote was unfavorable to the organizing effort, but that the late vote—once the union presented this vision—was more friendly, and that Monday’s outcome will hinge on when the most votes were cast. “We’re going up against the wealthiest human being since the beginning of time, and this incredibly powerful corporation,” Appelbaum said. “And they still can be beat.”
  • The votes on whether to form a union at Inc’s sprawling Alabama fulfillment center are set to be reviewed starting on Tuesday, with momentum for future labor organizing at America’s second-largest private employer hanging in the balance.
  • copper country strike.

  • Amazon acknowledges issue of drivers urinating in bottles in apology to Rep. Pocan Inc has apologized to U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, admitting to scoring an "own goal" in its initial denial of his suggestion that its drivers were sometimes forced to urinate in bottles during their delivery rounds.
    Its admission came a week after the Democrat criticised Amazon’s working conditions, saying in a tweet: “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles.”
  • edited April 2021
    Amazon Illegally Fired Activist Workers, Labor Board Finds

    The two employees had publicly pushed the company to reduce its impact on climate change and address concerns about its warehouse workers.
  • The union totally screwed up by first organizing in a red state instead of a blue one.
  • Gawd. I've lived and worked in Red and Purple States and Red regions of Purple States. I've heard it said more than once: "I don't need to hide behind a skirt."
    ...Shooting themselves in both feet. Repeatedly, continuously. EL BIG-O-STOO-PEE-DOH.
    ya can't fix stoopid. Nor can ya fix BRAINWASHED.

  • yeah, the infrastructure initiative is hugely helpful to red states, so I suppose that will guarantee its stymying

    a pity that potential redivision is not geographically neat anymore, if it ever was --- secede and be happy and best of luck, etc.
  • indeed. +1.
    Funny thing is, DEEP RED West Virginia (Think Joe Manchin) seceded from the Confederacy. Irony, irony. Manchin, by the way, is pretty useless as a "Democrat."
  • thread is probably an off-topic vs. investing category.
  • ok, yup.
  • edited April 2021
    Depends on whether you're an ESG investor or not. It is funny though to me when mentioning oil companies to ESG fans it's easy to dismiss them and say leave them out of the portfolio because they've done terribly for a while now. Mention Amazon and suddenly the room gets very quiet because everyone owns some in their portfolio, and deep down many ESG investors probably sense that it's wrong, especially now, to do so.
  • Oh, hell ya. But find me a fund that holds NONE of the shit-companies which don't pass my ethical filter. Impossible. Because fund managers --- and ourselves--- put our consciences on the shelf, when investing. If the idea is to make enough money to retire on, you can't afford to deliberately be ethical. I recall a scene from the series, "Thirtysomething." Michael's boss left him crestfallen when he told him: "We're not in the business of doing good. When we do good things, it happens by coincidence in the course of DOING BUSINESS." That's capitalism.
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