It’s every employee’s dream to work for a company that offers good working conditions on top of better wages. A union is an organized group that seeks to achieve that. E-commerce giant Amazon is the most recent company where employees successfully formed a union.
However, earlier this month a Starbucks employee was fired for allegedly attempting to form a union. “My name was on the letter, my name was on the press release when we went public,” Gilman told VICE News. “I think this is Starbucks’ way of making a statement of what could potentially happen if we were to vote yes for the union.”
Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, meanwhile, reportedly uses a heat map tool to identify which stores are most likely to unionize. The stores’ scores on each metric, according to Business Insider, are fed into the heat map, which is a geographic illustration of the United States peppered with red spots to indicate high-risk Whole Foods stores.
These are more recent happenings although corporations’ native abhorrence of unions can be traced back to 2012 when employees formed a union and named it the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart).
According to Bloomberg, however, “Walmart considered the group enough of a threat that it hired an intelligence-gathering service from Lockheed Martin, contacted the FBI, staffed up its labor hotline, ranked stores by labor activity, and kept eyes on employees (and activists) prominent in the group.”
As such, it’s clear unions seem unwelcoming to companies and big corporations overall even though forming a union is a federal right in the US under a law known as the Wagner Act passed in 1935. This begs the question; why are companies against the whole idea of unionization?
In 2021, union workers earned 17 percent more weekly than non-union workers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means unionized workers add an extra layer of cost to employers compared to their counterparts.
Besides, since unions are hinged on the pillars of solidarity and seniority, they give employees an upper hand in reining in some aspects that they could otherwise not have been able to. Firing an employee due to misconduct, for instance, maybe unfeasible since employees in a union can protect each other from scrutiny by the company.