Connect with us

Technology

Amazon crushed the Alabama union drive – can the Teamsters do better? | Amazon

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The announcement that the Teamsters – one of America’s most powerful unions – is going to mount an ambitious campaign to unionize Amazon warehouses across the US presents the e-retailing colossus with a far bigger threatthan the recent effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Alabama ever did.

In Alabama, Amazon’s fierce anti-union press crushed the organizing drive by a small union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). And besides, Amazon had a significant home-field advantage in bright red Alabama. For Amazon, the Alabama face-off felt like a one-and-done win against a junior varsity squad.

But the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with 1.3 million members, is a far larger, richer, stronger union, and has a century of experience mobilizing and unionizing warehouse workers. Not only that, the Teamsters will mount drives in many places where unions are popular and powerful and arguably have a home-court advantage – think California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and Washington state. In confronting the Teamsters, Amazon will no doubt feel it’s being plunged into a never-ending, head-to-head competition against an Olympic-caliber opponent.

It’s one thing for Amazon to deploy its crack team of anti-union lawyers and consultants to stomp out a union drive at a single warehouse center in Alabama, but it will be quite another thing for Amazon and its anti-union Swat team if the Teamsters mount union drives in 20 or 30 warehouses at once.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Teamsters union is undertaking a national drive against Amazon, the nation’s second largest private-sector employer. Amazon, Teamster officials say, is undermining wages and working conditions in warehousing and trucking, the Teamsters’ two main industries. No surprise that the Teamsters president, James P Hoffa, told his union’s convention on Tuesday that Amazon was “an existential threat to every Teamster out there”.

Asked why the Teamsters are taking on Amazon, Randy Korgan, the union’s national Amazon director, told the Guardian: “It’s a natural. Our union has represented this industry for more than 100 years. We represent hundreds of thousands of workers in this industry.

“Truth be told,” Korgan continued, “Amazon’s impact on this industry is driving wages, working conditions and safety and health conditions downward. You have a lot of UPS, FedEx and US Postal Service drivers doing the delivery portion of this job. These are good-paying middle-class jobs for middle-class families. Amazon’s model is not good for working families, it’s threatening middle-class jobs.” Korgan said Amazon drivers earn about $16 an hour in southern California, while unionized UPS drivers there earn $38 an hour, with $29 an hour above that in health, pension and other benefits.

Labor experts say it makes sense for the Teamsters to target Amazon. “It’s good that the Teamsters are doing this,” said Stewart Acuff, former organizing director for the AFL-CIO, the nation’s main labor federation. “They’re perfectly placed to do this. They’re large, they have major resources, they are committed to organizing and spending the money that’s necessary. Most important, this is their core industry. They have all the interest in the world in battling Amazon.

“They need to do this for their members,” Acuff added. “They also need to do this for their employers so their employers know the Teamsters are willing to spend money to wage war to maintain standards and not let Amazon undercut unionized transportation companies.”

Korgan said the Teamsters would often seek to bypass union elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because many unions see that process as hugely favoring employers, which have access to workers 24 hours a day. That’s one reason the RWDSU lost badly in Alabama, with 1,798 against unionizing to 738 in favor.

The union drive at the warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, failed with 1,798 against unionizing to 738 in favor.
The union drive at the warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, failed with 1,798 against unionizing to 738 in favor. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

“The NLRB strategy is only one of many ways to seek recognition,” Korgan said. One way, Korgan said, would be to seek to pressure Amazon to agree to card check and neutrality (not to oppose unionization). “Those are some of the strategies,” Korgan said. “Everything is on the table.” The Teamsters’ resolution on Amazon also spoke of “shop floor strikes, city-wide strikes and actions in the streets”.

Asked to be more specific about tactics and timing, Korgan said: “Stay tuned.”

Korgan said the Teamsters’ organizing efforts at Amazon would be helped greatly by thousands of Teamster members who volunteer to help – whether by joining a rally outside an Amazon warehouse or by telling Amazon workers of the advantages of unions. “We’re part of the fabric of these communities, we’re not an outside institution,” Korgan said. “We’re not a third party. We’re coaching baseball right next to that individual who works at Amazon. We’re living in the same neighborhoods. Our kids go to the same schools.”

Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center, said some areas hold promise for the Teamsters’ efforts; he pointed to the Inland Empire, an area east of Los Angeles teeming with warehouses.

Wong said the Teamsters might be able to win there because southern California has strong unions and many pro-labor lawmakers, and besides, the head of the Los Angeles County Labor Federation is a prominent Teamster leader. “Anywhere you have a robust labor movement with strong labor-community alliances and elected officials who are willing to speak out and support the right of workers to form unions, that gives you a leg up,” Wong said.

He praised the Teamsters for undertaking its Amazon campaign, but said it won’t be easy. “When you take on a giant corporation that has a strong, anti-union policy, it’s going to be an uphill fight,” Wong said. “It will be a long-term, protracted fight.”

Wong said the Teamsters have a “mixed reputation, given the legacy of the original Jimmy Hoffa”.

But he added: “The Teamsters are known as a fighting union that has successfully raised the wages and working conditions for workers in these industries.”

In other words, the Teamsters have a reputation, a swagger, that stills attract many workers. In recent years, the Teamsters have unionized more than 20,000 school bus drivers and scored numerous victories unionizing warehouses, including at Sysco Foods and US Foods.

In its Amazon campaign, the question will be whether the Teamsters’ reputation as a fierce, fighting union that delivers to workers will succeed in overcoming the fierce, anti-union propaganda campaign that Amazon conducts in its warehouses.

Source link

Technology

I can’t charge my electric car cheaply because I’m too close to an RAF base | Money

Voice Of EU

Published

on

A few months ago I decided to switch energy supplier and moved to Octopus Energy’s Go tariff, principally because it offers cheap electric car charging overnight at a rate of 5p/kWh.

I applied to have the required smart meter installed. But after being given a date, I was later declined on the basis that smart meters cannot work at my address because they interfere with the missile early warning system at RAF Fylingdales.

Initially, I thought this was a joke. I have been involved with the construction of hundreds of new homes in Teesside, all of which have had smart meters installed.

Smart Energy GB, the body responsible for the rollout, has confirmed that this is very real, and smart meters installed in the area will not have had their smart capacity turned on.

I was told that a new meter is being worked upon and will eventually replace those already installed.

Meanwhile, I am having to charge my car at a premium rate of 16.76p/kWh which is costing me about £26 more a week than it would be on the Go tariff.

AM, Guisborough

Given that your house is more than 20 miles from the RAF base in question, I, too, was amazed that this could be an issue, but it is – and also in other areas close to bases.

Smart Meter GB has confirmed this is the case and says it is working on a solution – a communications hub that will enable people living near sensitive RAF sites to use smart meters.

It says these will be offered to customers “in the coming months”.

It adds those in the affected area, who had already had smart meters installed should be able to have the hubs retrofitted.

Meanwhile, Octopus has come up with a solution for your problem. It has offered to add you to the trial of these new meters, which, in turn, will allow you to go on the Go tariff.

It says it hopes to install your new meter before Christmas. It has also said that if you get the log from your charging firm, showing how much electricity you have used for the car since the switch took place, it will retroactively apply the savings that you would have gained had the smart meter worked from the start – a generous offer.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include a phone number. Letters are subject to our terms: gu.com/letters-terms

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

China’s Yutu rover spots ‘mysterious hut’ on far side of the Moon

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Cube-shaped object is probably just a rock. Yutu will check it out anyway

China’s Moon rover, Yutu 2, has sent images of a strangely geometric object.…

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

Strikepay struck gold at National Startup Awards 2021

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Strikepay, founded by fintech entrepreneurs Oli Cavanagh and Charles Dowd, scooped the top award for its fast-growing cash-free tipping tech.

Irish fintech company Strikepay has scooped the top prize at this year’s National Startup Awards.

The start-up, previously called Strike, was founded in 2020 to enable cash-free tipping without the need for a payment terminal or a new app on a customer’s phone.

Its founders, fintech entrepreneurs Oli Cavanagh and Charles Dowd, raised €625,000 in seed funding earlier this year and said they intended to seek a further €6.5m in investment by the end of 2021.

Strikepay has already begun acquiring and collaborating with other companies to bolster its product offering. In June, it acquired UK payments rival Gratsi and in April it appointed former Just Eat exec Edel Kinane as its chief growth officer.

Earlier in the year, it teamed up with Camile Thai Kitchen to enable contactless tipping for food delivery drivers and partnered with mobility company Bolt to bring its cashless tipping technology to taxis in Dublin.

Strikepay was one of several winners at the awards ceremony, which was livestreamed last night (2 December).

Other winners included health-tech start-up Stimul.ai, customer analysis tech business Glimpse, and sheep monitoring start-up Cotter Agritech, which has been participating in a new accelerator programme at University College Dublin.

As well as taking the top award, Strikepay also won Best Fintech Startup.

This year marked the 10th year of the National Startup Awards. The event was sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland, Sage, Cronin Accountants and McCann Fitzgerald.

Last year’s top award was given to drone delivery service Manna. The start-up had been working with companies such as Tesco, Just Eat and Camile Thai to test its drones, and has seen further growth since then.

The full list of winners at the 2021 awards, in order of gold, silver and bronze, are:

Startup of the Year 2021

Strikepay

Early Stage Startup

Imvizar, CyberPie, The Fifth Dimension

Emerge Tech Startup

Xunison, Helgen Technologies, LiveCosts.com

Fintech Startup

Strikepay, ID-Pal, Itus Secure Technologies

Food and Drink Startup

Fiid, SiSú, Thanks Plants

Social or Sustainable Startup

Altra, Peer, Fifty Shades Greener

Product and Manufacturing Startup

Cotter Agritech, Orca Board, Filter

E-commerce and Retail Startup

FinalBend, The Book Resort, Nufields

Tech Startup

Glimpse, LegitFit, Examfly

Medtech Startup

Stumul.ai, SymPhysis Medical, Bonafi

Covid Pivot or Response Startup

Zoom Party/Find A Venue, KSH Group, Streat School

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!