Amazon Waged a Brutal Anti-Union Campaign. Unsurprisingly, They Won.
Amazon has secured a majority of “no” votes from workers at BHM1, the company’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, on the question of unionizing with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) received 3,215 mail-in ballots in an election in which around 5,800 workers were eligible to vote. Were they to unionize, these workers would have become the first unionized Amazon employees in the United States. Before the public vote count began yesterday, 505 votes were contested in closed-door proceedings. According to RWDSU, most of the challenges were from Amazon, suggesting those votes favor the union. But even accounting for these ballots, the company has secured enough votes to win the count. Of the non-challenged ballots, 1,798 were against the union, while 738 were in support. After the tally, both Amazon and RWDSU can file objections with the regional director of the NLRB over the other side’s conduct during the election process, or appeal the ruling to the NLRB in Washington, DC. This morning, RWDSU announced that it will do so. The union says that it “will request that the NLRB Regional Director schedule a hearing on its objections to determine if the results of the election should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice.” It will also present evidence for a related unfair labor practice complaint, alleging that Amazon unlawfully interfered with the protected right of employees to engage in union activity. “We won’t let Amazon’s lies, deception and illegal activities go unchallenged, which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by Amazon during the union vote,” said Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU’s president. “Amazon knew full well that unless they did everything they possibly could, even illegal activity, their workers would have continued supporting the union.”
How Bellingcat Launders National Security State Talking Points into the Press
AMSTERDAM — Investigative site Bellingcat is the toast of the popular press. In the past month alone, it has been described as “an intelligence agency for the people” (ABC Australia), a “transparent” and “innovative” (New Yorker) “independent news collective,” “transforming investigative journalism” (Big Think), and an unequivocal “force for good” (South China Morning Post). Indeed, outside of a few alternative news sites, it is very hard to hear a negative word against Bellingcat, such is the gushing praise for the outlet founded in 2014. This is troubling, because the evidence compiled in this investigation suggests Bellingcat is far from independent and neutral, as it is funded by Western governments, staffed with former military and state intelligence officers, repeats official narratives against enemy states, and serves as a key part in what could be called a “spook to Bellingcat to corporate media propaganda pipeline,” presenting Western government narratives as independent research.
Western Media Incite Anti-Asian Racism When They Join in Cold War Against China
Time (3/20/20) pointed out that Trump was “part of a long history of associating diseases with foreign countries.” USA Today (2/11/21) reported that “racist rhetoric about the coronavirus pandemic may be fueling a rise in hate incidents.” The Los Angeles Times (3/5/21), reporting on a study that found anti-Asian hate crimes in 16 major cities had risen 149% last year—while total hate crimes against all minority groups had dropped 7%—declared that “the rise is almost certainly related to the pandemic.” But the Trump administration wasn’t the only actor associating Covid-19 with China. Asian writers (Salon, 2/7/20; CNN, 3/28/20) have pointed out the racist logic often employed by the scientific community and Western media in naming an epidemic: If a virus is believed to have originated from and is circulating in Western countries, either refer to it by a generic numerical designation (e.g. H1N1), or reference the animal believed to be responsible for the zoonotic spillover (e.g., Mad Cow Disease, Swine Flu). If the virus is first detected in a country that the West has stereotyped, then the epidemic will be named after the region it’s believed to have originated from (e.g., Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, West Nile Virus). The World Health Organization (WHO), breaking with this tradition in 2015, officially named the novel coronavirus that started the pandemic “Covid-19” on February 11, 2020, to avoid stigmatizing Chinese people, even though the virus was informally referred to as the “Wuhan Coronavirus” in Western media reports both before (e.g., New York Times, 1/21/20; CNN, 2/4/20; US News & World Report, 1/24/20), and after the WHO’s official designation (e.g., Fox, 12/29/20; BBC, 8/18/20). Indeed, towards the beginning of the pandemic, US media outlets saw fit to publish loaded headlines in op-eds like “A Communist Coronavirus” (Wall Street Journal, 1/29/20), “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” (Wall Street Journal, 2/3/20) and “Coronavirus Spreads, and the World Pays for China’s Dictatorship” (New York Times, 1/29/20).