News & Commentary

March 9, 2022

Jason Vazquez

Jason Vazquez is a staff attorney at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2023. His writing on this blog reflects his personal views and should not be attributed to the IBT.

In the midst of the historic rerun union election at the Amazon packaging facility in Bessemer, Alabama, a handful of employees who voted against unionization spoke with Buzzfeed News yesterday and conveyed anxieties that collective bargaining would undermine their existing levels of compensation and benefits. The fact that many workers at the warehouse are harboring such concerns evinces the potency of the antiunion propaganda with which employers are largely free to assail employees in the “campaign” period preceding a union election. Indeed, an organizer at the Bessemer plant disclosed to Buzzfeed that Amazon has deployed tactics designed to scare and confuse employees, which has resulted in many of them being “afraid of losing pay, afraid of losing benefits, or their job.”

On Tuesday night, the Senate passed the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act, which was approved by the House last month. The statute has received support from all four postal unions. In press releases, the National Association of Letter Carriers, which represents more than 270,000 active letter carriers, described the bill as “a monumental victory for letter carriers.” Similarly, the American Postal Workers Union, representing more than 220,000 USPS employees, characterized it as “one of the most critical pieces of postal legislation in modern history.” The Reform Act is aimed at overhauling the finances of the USPS, which employs more than half a million workers. As a product of bipartisan compromise, however, the legislation fails to resolve many of the seemingly intractable problems that will continue to plague the Service.  

Finally, in today’s organizing news, 280 workers at an auto parts production facility in Texas filed a petition on Monday to join USW. On Tuesday, in addition, 350 hospital employees at the University of Vermont filed a petition to unionize with SEIU.

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