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Demonstrators gather in University Heights to support Amazon workers amid union battle in Alabama

Amazon protest
Posted at 1:05 PM, Mar 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 18:40:23-05

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — On Saturday, Our Revolution Ohio held a rally to support Amazon workers amid a union battle in Alabama.

Thousands of workers at an Amazon campus are deciding whether to form a union, a battle with the potential to pivot collective bargaining rights in areas where they have been scarcely accepted. Amazon has held mandatory sessions to tell workers a union would "command dues when they already get the kind of compensation benefits, including health insurance, that unions negotiate," according to the Associated Press.

The Amazon Workers- Pro Act, Solidarity Rally was held at the corner of Cedar and Warrensville Center Roads.

Several elected officials joined the rally, including University Heights Mayor Michael Brennan, Lakewood Councilman Tristan Rader and Cleveland Heights Councilman Kahlil Seren. Congressional candidate and former senator Nina Turner also spoke at the rally in support of workers unions.

"Our goal is to highlight the cause of the Amazon Workers in Alabama and across the country, and to create awareness of the PRO Act as it makes its way to the Senate," Our Revolution Ohio said in a press release.

Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021 (H.R.842), which is what the demonstrators gathered in support of Saturday afternoon, aims to "expand labor protections related to employees' rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace."

H.R.842 is summarized below:

Among other things, it (1) revises the definitions of employee, supervisor, and employer to broaden the scope of individuals covered by the fair labor standards; (2) permits labor organizations to encourage participation of union members in strikes initiated by employees represented by a different labor organization (i.e., secondary strikes); and (3) prohibits employers from bringing claims against unions that conduct such secondary strikes.

The bill also allows collective bargaining agreements to require all employees represented by the bargaining unit to contribute fees to the labor organization for the cost of such representation, notwithstanding a state law to the contrary; and expands unfair labor practices to include prohibitions against replacement of, or discrimination against, workers who participate in strikes.

The bill makes it an unfair labor practice to require or coerce employees to attend employer meetings designed to discourage union membership and prohibits employers from entering into agreements with employees under which employees waive the right to pursue or a join collective or class-action litigation.

Finally, the bill addresses the procedures for union representation elections, modifies the protections against unfair labor practices that result in serious economic harm, and establishes penalties and permits injunctive relief against entities that fail to comply with National Labor Relations Board orders.