In a WaPo story yesterday, the president of the union organizing Amazon’s warehouse in Alabama said they’ve gathered more than 3,000 union cards there. That figure has made some folks I've talked to queasy — and others optimistic — and it’s worth explaining why.
First off, that’s a big number! Having 3,000+ Amazon workers at a single warehouse sign union cards was tough to imagine not long ago. It’s a sign of real strength for the union, RWDSU. The concern is the size of the bargaining unit.
The NLRB has given the green light for an election involving about 6,000 Amazon workers. You need to win a simple majority of votes cast. If those 3,000+ come out for the union, the union wins. Problem is, employers always scare off some of the workers who signed cards.
That’s why a lot of organizers will say they don’t like to file for an election unless they’ve got cards from ~75%. In this case, that would be around 4,500. But the unit has grown quite a bit from what the union originally envisioned, in part b/c Amazon got seasonal workers in.
That’s why some folks I’ve talked to *outside* the campaign have indigestion. Cause for optimism: The union appears to be rapidly gathering more support. Per spokesperson, they had 2,000 cards in late Dec. It was 3,000+ when the election was set on Jan. 15. That's fast progress.
But if you read @greene's story you see Amazon has a full-court press going. That's why you usually want an overwhelming majority of workers onboard going into an election. Amazon is working hard to pull many of those 3,000+ into the 'no' column.
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