Alabama? A Potential Shift in the Contours of Political Parties

Another big event is on the United States horizon, in Alabama, and its occurrence portends a potential seismic shift in the contours of our political parties.

Amazon workers at an in Bessemer, Alabama facility are going to vote on unionization. And of course, Amazon opposes unionization. Amazon has a lot at stake if the Bessemer facility unionizes as it employs more than 400,000 warehouse and delivery workers. It is shaping up to be the biggest fight over unionization in American history.

Unionization of workers at an Amazon plant “may” (and I say may) be the beginnings of a political party shift in Alabama favoring Democrats. Democratic President Biden is messaging his support of unionization.

Amazon warns the unionization of its workers may increase costs and slow growth. To counter the effort, it has staged mandatory company meetings flooding workers with anti-union messaging and literature and gone as far as to post signs in bathroom stalls. Workers have complained about working conditions and mandatory overtime and in response, Amazon points out Bessemer workers benefits are good and the starting pay of $15.30/hour and exceeds the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour.

As Heather Cox discusses in her March 5th “Letters from An American;”

“the reason this unionization effort jumps off the page for politics is President Biden recorded video on February 28 is taking a strong pro-union stance.”

President Biden had a message in his video to remind viewers;

“America wasn’t built by Wall Street, it was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class. Unions put power in the hands of workers. They level the playing field. They give you a stronger voice for your health, your safety, higher wages, protections from racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Unions lift up workers, both union and non-union, and especially Black and Brown workers.“

President Biden clarified in his message, the choice to unionize should be made by workers without pressure from employers.

“The choice to join a union is up to the workers—full stop.”

Also, Biden has nominated Boston mayor Marty Walsh, the former president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, as Secretary of Labor. If confirmed, Walsh will be the first union member to serve as Secretary of Labor in nearly 50 years.

Biden’s vocal defense of working Americans has the potential to rally struggling workers to the Democrats more firmly than they have rallied for decades.

As a side note, when I was managing a $200 million warehouse for a $12 billion company, the costs were not in Labor, Indirect Labor or Overhead. The costs were in the Inventory. Amazon is a big warehouse business and I am going to guess the costs are similar with 80 to 85% being inventory. There are ways to lower the cost of Inventory.