Critics generally acknowledge that the campaigns helped raise support for higher wages, even if they fell short in consolidating workers. Defenders say the goal is to have an impact on a company- or industry-wide scale rather than certain individual stores. They point to certain developments, such as the pending California bill that would regulate fast-food wages and working conditions, as signs of progress.
In other cases, workers have realized the limitations of self-established unions and the benefits of going it alone. Joseph Fink, who works at an Amazon Fresh grocery store in Seattle with about 150 employees, said workers reached out to a few unions when they wanted to unite over the summer but decided the union’s focus was on gaining recognition through national labor relations. Board elections will delay the resolution of their grievances, including sexual harassment and health and safety risks.
When workers offered the idea of protesting or walking out as an alternative, union officials reacted cautiously. Mr. Finke said. “It was a self-defeating story.”
The workers decided to form a union on their own without the formal blessing of the NLRB, known as the “Solidarity Union”, which had its origins before the modern labor movement.
For workers seeking NLRB certification, there are also benefits to doing so independently of established unions, such as confusing employers and consultants, who often want unions to collect workers’ debts as a “third party”.
On Amazon, the strategy was similar to sending a conventional army in the fight against guerrillas: organizers said that the points of conversation were flattened when co-workers realized that the union consisted of co-workers rather than outsiders.
“When a worker comes to me, he looks at me, then sees that I have a badge and says, ‘Do you work here?’ They ask him the most surprising question, “said Angelica Maldonado, an Amazon employee at Staten Island who heads the union’s workers’ committee. “‘I’m like,’ Yeah, I work here. ‘ It makes us relevant from the beginning.