Poll Finds 75 Percent of Americans Support Amazon Workers’ Union Efforts


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Source: Truthout

Workers’ recent efforts to unionize Amazon warehouses and fight for better working conditions are widely popular among Americans across the political spectrum, new polling finds.

A recent poll of nearly 2,500 Americans, conducted for More Perfect Union by Blue Rose Research, finds that 75 percent of those polled support Amazon Labor Union’s (ALU) stated goals to seek “union representation in order to have job security, better pay, and safer working conditions.”

This support holds across the political spectrum, the polling found. A majority of Donald Trump voters aged between 18 and 49 agreed with the union’s goals. Support was strongest among young Democrats. Among young Joe Biden voters aged 18 to 34, a whopping 91 percent supported the union, with a similar approval rating of 90 percent among Biden voters between 39 and 49 years old.

Support for the union’s goals is also strong across races; majorities of white, Latinx, Black and Asian respondents are in favor of the union, with the lowest support among white respondents at 71 percent, and the highest among Black respondents at 87 percent.

The polling comes after ALU won a union in Staten Island, New York, earlier this month by a decisive majority. The workers had faced long odds to unionize in the face of a union-busting campaign that cost $3.4 million at minimum last year, and the independent union’s historic win is causing established labor unions to question whether or not it’s time to reshape how they approach organizing.

ALU’s movement has been spreading quickly among Amazon workers. Just a week after their victory, ALU president Christian Smalls said that workers at over 100 warehouses had contacted the union about organizing their workplaces.

Amazon has taken great lengths to project a positive public image, and the poll shows that the company’s efforts have largely been successful; 90 percent of the people who shopped on the Amazon website over the past three months said that they have a favorable view of the company. However, among that group, 75 percent still favored workers’ union efforts.

It’s possible that Amazon’s reputation for subpar working conditions is still prevalent even among those who have a positive overall view of the company. Last year, the company went to war on Twitter to dispute allegations that quotas for Amazon delivery drivers are so strict that drivers often have to urinate in bottles just to stay on track — allegations that investigations later found the company was fully aware of, despite denying them online.

In the past few years, the company has pledged to become both the safest and best place to work on Earth, but recent data shows that the company operates some of the most dangerous warehouses in the country. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data, the company was responsible for 50 percent of warehouse injuries last year, despite only making up about a third of the country’s warehouse workforce.

While Amazon employs a larger and larger share of the workforce, union membership has been declining. Over the past decades, the percentage of workers who are in a labor union has fallen to about 10 percent overall, and to a measly 6 percent among workers in the private sector.

At the same time, however, the public’s view of labor unions is becoming more favorable. According to Gallup polling, public support for unions is at the highest level since 1965, with 68 percent support among the public. The support is an indication that the labor movement is on the rise in the U.S.

The wide support for Amazon’s union effort is also an indication that, in order to earn more support ahead of this year’s midterm elections, Democrats should throw their support behind union efforts among workers at companies that are household names, like Amazon and Starbucks.

 

Sharon Zhang is a news writer at Truthout.

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