Amazon.com, Inc. claimed union organizers bribed workers with cannabis ahead of last week’s union vote at the JFK8 warehouse in New York.
On Friday, the online retail giant filed a legal objection to the union vote. In it, the company accused the union organizers of “interrupting mandatory company meetings,” “improperly polling” warehouse workers, and “intimidating workers to vote for the union,” AP reported.
The vote to unionize at the JFK8 warehouse passed with roughly 55% approval, or 2,654 votes.
The cannabis claim stands as the most unusual among Amazon’s list of objections, especially since the company now promotes itself as a pro-cannabis lobby. According to the company’s attorneys, union organizers gave weed to the workers before the vote, presumably to influence the vote’s outcome.
The company reportedly stated that the National Relations Labor Board — the federal agency that oversees and verifies union votes — “cannot condone such a practice as a legitimate method of obtaining support for a labor organization.”
Eric Milner, an attorney representing the Amazon Labor Union, told the AP that handing out weed “is no different than distributing free t-shirts and it certainly did not act to interfere with the election.”
Now, other news outlets have already covered Amazon’s legal objection to the union vote. So, let’s focus on the claims that the organizers (1) bribed workers with weed into voting for a union, and (2) intimated workers into voting for the union.
In psychology, abusers will often behave hot and cold with their victims to maintain control over the victim’s mind. In other words, abusers will oscillate between being cruel and being kind to their victims. It’s not entirely unreasonable to suspect anyone could both reward and intimidate people to do something: Just think about how Facebook keeps you coming back with React Notifications even after it banned you for posting something about pot.
About That Weed….
But this weed claim is such a stretch, one should wonder if Amazon is getting into the yoga business. Namely, because New York recently legalized cannabis. As Milner said, passing out free joints to the (adult) homies is no different than passing out free shirts in New York.
Cannabis isn’t even a good bribe. It’s a nondurable good. For most of us, it’s gone as soon as we get it, and we may not even remember who gave it to us. At least with shirts, you can keep those practically forever to — oh, we don’t know — wax your car or wipe your ass.
Furthermore, weed isn’t even that expensive anymore, even in an overpriced, elitist liberal haven like New York. A joint’s worth of primo bud goes for about $5 to $10 in the Empire State. That’s hardly something that could sway anyone’s vote, whether it’s for a union or otherwise.
Now, if the organizers chucked whole-pound bags at the workers, that would be a different story. But according to the reports, that didn’t happen, so, whatever.
As for claiming the organizers “intimidated” workers into voting for the union: Is Amazon fucking kidding?
This company has been torturing its workers for years using intimidation tactics, especially to bust union organizing.
We all know about Amazon workers having to piss in bottles because their supervisors wouldn’t give them breaks. But did you know when the company required mandatory overtime during the COVID-19 lockdowns, supervisors sent out emails telling complaining workers, “YOU CAN SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE DEAD.”
Which is odd, considering Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has famously stated that people should get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
In 2018, Bezos said this about getting a full night’s rest: “I think better. I have more energy. My mood is better.” He added that sufficient sleep was critical for being productive and making good decisions.
If it’s crucial for Bezos, why shouldn’t proper sleep be crucial for Amazon employees, too? That’s one thing that unions can help guarantee for employees.
The company placed its workers under surveillance, illegally interrogated them, and fired them just for trying to improve their working conditions. Amazon even had a traffic light changed near one of its warehouses to obstruct a union from forming there.
If anything, it sounds like the folks running Amazon could use some cannabis. Heck, if the company passed that out to its workers, it may find there’s more employee satisfaction, too.