Amazon spent around $4.3 on consultants last year in an effort to prevent unionization of its warehouses, according to company filings with the US Department of Labor. Workers were required to attend meetings led by the consultants who discussed anti-union talking points ahead of key union votes in Bessemer, Alabama and Staten Island, New York, HuffPost has reported.
Companies are required to disclose financial details when consultants speak directly to workers about unionization. Very few have spent even $1 million on union avoidance over several years, according to a recent report, while Amazon spent multiple times that in just 2021 alone. Some consultants were paid up to $3,200 per day.
The meetings are legal and usually held when employers discover efforts to organize unions. They're called "captive audience meetings" by labor organizers because attendance is normally non-optional. Typically, the consultants will focus on union dues and potential loss of wages due to work stoppages. They also help company's come up with strategies to defeat unions.
Amazon workers recently voted in two union drives in Bessemer and Staten Island. At Bessemer, workers voted 993-875 against unionizing, but 416 votes have been challenged, so the final result is far from established. However, as it stands now, the Staten Island union is currently ahead 1,518 to 1,154 (a margin of 364) votes, with counting set to resume today.