Who said that an underdog can’t ever take on a mega multi-national company and win?
Amazingly this is exactly what happened in the US this spring, when the fledging Amazon Labor Union (ALU) made history after Amazon warehouse workers on Staten Island in New York voted to form a union, the first inside an Amazon facility anywhere in the US.
As the world’s biggest online retailer, which employs more than one million people in the US alone, Amazon has fiercely resisted any attempt to unionise its workplaces and has spent millions of dollars on every conceivable union-busting trick in the book.
But what makes the ALU victory all the more remarkable is that the ALU was only formed last year, by a group of unhappy Amazon workers in New York who run the union on online donations, volunteers and a hefty dose of determination.
Amazon has for years faced accusations of treating its workers appallingly, with claims of high rates of injury and unrealistic productivity pressures not only in the US but around the world, including in the UK.
Not surprisingly, because of this together with accusations of tax avoidance, Amazon is one of the few companies that scores a zero in Ethical Consumer’s ethical ratings and is the subject of an ongoing boycott call from Ethical Consumer.