Martin Levitt — who renounced his 20-year career as an anti-union consultant to write a landmark memoir, Confessions of a Union Buster, in the early 1990s — famously said that union busting is a “dirty business” which is “populated by bullies and built on deceit. A campaign against a union is an assault on individuals and a war on the truth. The only way to bust a union is to lie, distort, manipulate, threaten, and always attack.” Amazon’s ongoing anti-union campaign in Bessemer, Alabama, where 5,800 workers are voting by mail on whether or not to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store (RWDSU) union, provides a stark illustration of Levitt’s statement.

After hiring one of the country’s largest and most expensive union-avoidance law firms, Morgan Lewis, Amazon is now paying almost $10,000 per day plus expenses to three anti-union consultants: Russell Brown, Rebecca Smith and Bill Monroe. Among other campaigns, Brown and Smith have previously run controversial, high-profile anti-union drives at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2020, at which nurses preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic were subjected to a “relentless” anti-union campaign; and in 2017, at Kumho Tires in Macon, Georgia, where the National Labor Relations Board found that the company committed “numerous and egregious” unlawful anti-union actions. When Amazon’s anti-union campaign is over, the e-commerce behemoth will almost certainly have paid millions of dollars to its union avoidance consultants and law firm in order to prevent its Alabama-based employees from choosing a union.

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