Mar 31, 2021
Ep 220: Inside The Amazon Union Vote Count!; Yemen Is “Hell On Earth”
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I have discussed a number of times the union organizing campaign at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. So, as the ballot counting is now underway, I thought today we could add two aspects to the conversation, while we await the final results which could take a number of days.
First, people don’t really know how the hell the ballot count happens, what’s the process, what does it look like so I thought it would be worth checking that out a bit. And, then, second what happens if the union wins? That second one is a doozy—because the fight just begins even after a union victory: the road to getting a first contract is torturous because a company like Amazon will fight tooth and nail to obstruct, delay and undercut the union at every turn, all in an effort to frustrate workers who want to see tangible results from their vote.
We all need to know that, if the union wins, everyone supporting this campaign needs to keep the mobilization going after the final ballot is counted. So, to wrestle with these thoughts, our friend Dave Mertz is back. Dave is a vice president at the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union and he joined me for a chat from Bessemer, Alabama which took place late at night after he finished meeting with the core organizing committee members.
So, why is Yemen a place that even a top United Nations official calls “hell on earth.” Consider: Yemen is a country of 30 million people, 81 percent of whom make less than $5.50 a day and are facing a historic deadly famine; a place where, in 2021, 2.3 million children will face malnutrition, and 40 percent of households have poor to borderline access to food; a nation in which 20.5 million people, two thirds of the entire country, are without safe water and almost as many are without adequate health care, leaving millions at the mercy of cholera and, of course, COVID-19. Add to that a vicious war—fueled by U.S. arms and aid to Saudi Arabia—that has displaced millions of people from their homes, making every aspect of what I just recounted even worse. Scott Paul, who is a lead humanitarian policy expert with Oxfam America, lays out the crisis in Yemen, and whether a small ray of hope beckons.
-- Jonathan Tasini
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