After years of the online retail behemoth resisting any employee organizing in the United States, 30 equipment maintenance and repair technicians at Amazon's fulfillment center in Middletown, Del., filed a union election petition on December 6 with the National Labor Relations Board. As Bloomberg Businessweek reports: According to John Carr, a spokesman for the [International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers], Amazon and the union have now reached an agreement to go forward with this election. It will be held on Jan. 15 in a conference room at the Delaware facility; only members of the group of 30 technicians will be allowed to vote. The vast majority of workers at the year-old facility—more than 1,500 pickers and packers who move products from shelves into boxes and trucks—will not vote, nor will they be covered by the union if the technicians vote to form a collective bargaining group.The organizers may face an uphill battle, given that Amazon has already hired the services of the anti-union firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. But as Carr points out, the move might be the push other workers need to take similar steps toward unionizing.
Kathleen Jercich is an assistant editor at In These Times. Her work has appeared in Sacramento News and Review, BUST Magazine and on The Rumpus and Bitch Media blogs.