In the wake of organized labor’s loss at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse, a recent article by a union advocate details how the Amazon election would have played out differently if the PRO Act was law.
The article makes a compelling case for why the PRO Act may have produced a different outcome:
- Amazon would have been prohibited from holding mandatory employee information sessions on the implications of unionization;
- Amazon would have been excluded from participating in the process to determine who was eligible to vote in the union election and the manner in which the election was conducted;
- The union’s proposed voting unit—1,500 employees, as opposed to the 5,800 it eventually agreed to as a compromise with Amazon—would likely have been accepted, making a majority vote for the union much more likely;
- The union would have been able to promise a contract for the employees through mandatory arbitration;
- The election process would have been significantly expedited and voting would have been conducted electronically;
- If the union still lost the election, it could be certified anyway if the NLRB agreed with union allegations that Amazon interfered with the election; and
- The union would have been allowed to engage in various forms of strikes and production slowdowns, as well as to induce suppliers and customers into boycotting Amazon.
The above changes would tip the scales significantly toward a union victory at the Bessemer warehouse, if not placing enough pressure on Amazon to agree to unionization without an election in the first place.
The PRO Act would substantially rewrite a number of federal labor laws and significantly advantage unions in elections and labor disputes. The bill largely represents an organized labor wish list, has the support of the Biden administration, and passed the House in March. A summary of the Act’s most important provisions can be found here.
Outlook: Organized labor sees the PRO Act as a silver bullet for the union movement, and the recent loss at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse has only further galvanized its focus on getting it passed.