Skip to main content

Amazon union vote could be a tipping point

by Joy Green, Apr 8
2 minutes read

The historic union vote at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, comes at a pivotal moment for US unions. While the result has not yet been declared (at the time of writing), the huge wave of publicity and awareness that it has caused could galvanise support for workers and unions across the country, no matter what the outcome is.

Amazon pickup & returns building

So what

Unions in the US and across the Western world more generally have been in decline for the last four decades. This is thought to be an important factor in the stagnation of worker wages and the growth of inequality over the same period. Aggressive anti-union policies have become the norm in many large corporations. However  Covid-19 has led to a step-change in union activity, as it exposed the worsened working conditions and heightened concerns about safety protections in places like Amazon warehouses that not only continued operating, but saw surges in demand and profits.

“The union drive in Bessemer, Alabama, is going to have a ripple effect,” said Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the US. “It’s about so much more than Amazon. It’s about fundamental power and inequality. About a labor movement that’s innovating and organizing on a new frontier to take on issues like data collection, and making progress in the long march for civil rights. And Bessemer is inspiring people all over the country to take collective action with their co-workers. This isn’t the end, it’s a powerful beginning.”



by Joy Green Spotted 37 signals

Joy is a Principal Futurist at Forum for the Future.

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Join discussion

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.