Friday, March 12, 2021

Look for the Union Libel, Continued


Via redditor Honest_Horky.

Little Marco takes a stand on the Amazon workers in Alabama, in USA Today:

Here’s my standard: When the conflict is between working Americans and a company whose leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values, the choice is easy — I support the workers. And that’s why I stand with those at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse today.

Right. He'll support unionization at a company he thinks is too liberal, because they deserve to be punished. If he likes a company's "culture", like the Little Sisters of the Poor and their unrelenting efforts to stop their employees from getting affordable birth control, he'll side with the company.

Because the Little Sisters are on the side of "working-class values" and the workers are against them. Sure thing.

How does Amazon fight against "working-class values"? It

bans conservative books and blocks traditional charities from participating in its AmazonSmile program. Not surprisingly, it has also bowed to China's censorship demands.

The book Amazon won't sell (Rubio cites just one) is Ryan T. Anderson's When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, which it removed from its website and the Kindle and Audible platforms in late February (to the great benefit of Barnes & Noble, where it's become a number one bestseller). The company has also yanked Holocaust-denying books and Auschwitz tchotchkes. A reported ban on Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China & the U.S. seems to have been reversed (though every one of the reviews on the site seems to be a complaint about the alleged censorship, none of them has anything to say about the book). 

The "traditional charities" banned from the Smile program (which gives a percentage of your purchase to a charity of your choice) include Delaware III Percent, the Texas wing of the American Patriot Vanguard III Percent group, Oath Keepers United, Indiana Oath Keepers Inc., and Oath Keepers Educational Foundation, that is affiliated with what has been described by FBI as a "large but loose organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights" and others, members of which have been booked on felony charges for their participation in the attempt of 6 January to overthrow Congress and install Donald Trump as dictator. (The company has used the Southern Poverty Law Center list of hate groups as a critierion for exclusion, we're told, but Marco's source, Fox Business, doesn't tell us which specific charities are involved). 

So "working-class values" are essentially dedicated to denying the existence of gender dysphoria and rejecting majority-rule representative democracy. Oh, and China: he's also complaining that Amazon has stopped selling Chinese citizens apps that help them circumvent the government's Internet censorship by connecting to VPNs, although as far as I can tell from Marco's link that wasn't Amazon, and Apple, but Beijing Sinnet Technology, the operator of the American company’s Amazon Web Services operations in China, which probably doesn't need American companies to push it to cooperate with the Beijing government, and warned companies in August 2017 that “If users don’t comply with the guidance, the offered services and their websites can be shut down,” according to a woman surnamed Wang who answered a Sinnet service hotline. “We the operators also check routinely if any of our users use these softwares or store illegal content.” Which is deplorable but is not exactly a focus of the American working class, certainly not of the Alabama Amazon workers, who are mostly concerned with job stress

Cameras blanket the warehouses, and the company’s Time Off Task (TOT) system tracks every second workers aren’t picking, packing, and stowing to meet quotas, or “make rate.” Too much TOT is grounds for termination. Workers fear that if a family member falls ill or some bad lunch meat necessitates extra bathroom breaks, that could be it for their job. Human frailty seems “like a kink in their system,” says Brewer. Grievance procedures, which would allow workers due process and union representation in responding to discipline, rank high on workers’ list of demands, as do more frequent, scheduled rest periods.

worker safety—

As the virus emerged inside warehouses in the spring, workers complained that the company had been slow to implement safety measures. In April, hundreds of workers staged a sick-out in protest.

(btw the American Rescue Plan Rubio just voted against provides $200 million for pandemic-related worker protection activities at the Labor Department, half of which would go to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to support OSHA enforcement and worker training)

failure to share pandemic profit with the workers—

Meanwhile, the pandemic increased reliance on ecommerce, and Amazon’s profits soared; CEO Jeff Bezos personally gained an estimated $70 billion in 2020, according to Bloomberg. Amazon introduced a $2-per-hour pay bump for warehouse workers in March but discontinued it in June, just as case counts in Alabama and many other states began to climb.

and racial discrimination—

Workers at the Bessemer facility began organizing shortly after last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, highlighting the pandemic’s disproportionate harm to people of color. Upwards of 80 percent of the Bessemer workers are Black, and the majority are women, and the RWDSU framed the campaign as a civil rights issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, you probably haven't heard that (I didn't know it when I wrote the previous post). Further evidence that the revolutionary vanguard of the working class, in the South especially, continues to be black women, not notably transphobes, Oath Keepers, or family planning opponents.

Marco is, like all Republicans, opposed to organized labor

Republicans have rightly understood the dangers posed by the unchecked influence of labor unions. Adversarial relations between labor and management are wrong. They are wrong for both workers and our nation’s economic competitiveness.... Adversarial labor relations are generally harmful. When it is a good American company — for example, certain American automakers — adversarial relations risk hurting labor and management alike by causing American industry to lose ground to foreign competition. And too often, the right to form a union has been, in practice, a requirement that business owners allow left-wing social organizers to take over their workplaces.

And he has zero sympathy with the Bessemer drive, which he seems to regard as a socialist-Democratic-antifa plot:

It isn’t clear whether the union effort is primarily driven by complaints from its workers, agitation from Democratic operatives, or just the fact that Jeff Bezos has now become the first person in history worth $200 billion. But Amazon should understand that waging a war on small businesses and working-class values has burned bridges with former allies.

(btw, speaking of small businesses, the American Rescue Plan Rubio just voted against includes another $7.25 billion for the PPP program, now extended to local digital news platforms, $10 billion for state governments to leverage private loans to small businesses, $15 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants program small businesses in underserved areas, especially minority-owned ones, nearly $29 billion to create a grant program of direct relief to restaurants, and $15 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants program from last year's relief bill to help museum, theater, concert and other venues shut down by Covid.)

He's really just demanding that the capitalists show a little more loyalty to the capitalist party, like Donald Trump attacking Amazon because Jeff Bezos owns the newspaper for which David Fahrenthold writes. "Stop taking us for granted!" 

He may be hitchhiking on this organizing to bolster his and Cruz's and Hawley's claims that the GOP is now the party of the "working class", but he can't help revealing his actual sentiments: hatred for the attempts of workers to protect themselves against exploitation, and a jealous love for the giant corporations that don't seem to understand how much he cherishes them, how he longs to keep them from harm—that sell themselves out in the open market instead of taking refuge in his arms.

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