business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Washington Post:

"Another Amazon warehouse, this time in New Jersey, has qualified to hold a vote on whether to unionize — just weeks after the first Amazon facility in the United States successfully voted to organize.

"The National Labor Relations Board confirmed Monday that a union organizing workers at the DNK5 facility in Bayonne, N.J., has submitted enough signatures to hold an election. The date for the vote has not yet been set.

"A filing shows that 200 employees are expected to be eligible to vote at the small delivery facility. Workers are being organized by the Local 713 International Brotherhood of Trade Unions, the first successful push by that union for a vote at an Amazon warehouse."

Some context from the story:  "Labor experts had predicted that a successful vote to unionize could start cascading efforts at the United States’ second-largest private employer, and union organizers say they are seeing increased interest and outreach from workers. An upstart, independent labor union called the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) made history this month when thousands of workers at the JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island voted to join its union."

New Jersey is a state where labor has enough juice to make it one of just two states - Oregon is the other - where people are not allowed to pump their own gas.  Be interesting to see if New Jersey is the next domino to fall.

•  From the New York Times this morning:

"A judge ruled on Monday that Amazon must reinstate and pay lost wages to a worker the company 'unlawfully' fired two years ago after a protest at its fulfillment center on Staten Island, the same warehouse that recently voted in a landmark election to unionize.

"A National Labor Relations Board regional director argued that the firing was retaliation for protesting safety conditions, which is protected by federal labor law. Benjamin W. Green, an administrative law judge, agreed."

According to the story, "The case centers on a verbal altercation during the early days of the pandemic in New York. On April 6, 2020, Gerald Bryson was protesting outside the warehouse, known as JFK8, and said it should be shut down for safety. Another employee said she wanted the facility to remain open because she was grateful for the extra pay she was receiving for working during the pandemic. The two exchanged insults, but only Mr. Bryson was fired. The woman received a written warning."

“For me to win and walk back through those doors changes everything,” Bryson tells the Times.  "It will show that Amazon can be beat. It will show you have to fight for what you believe in.”

Amazon says it plans to appeal.

•  From CNBC:

"The CEO-to-worker pay gap is widening yet again, as top executives who took pandemic pay cuts more than recovered lost earnings in the last year.

"CEOs made 254 times more than the average worker in 2021, up 7% from the year prior, according to the Equilar 100, which offers an early look at CEO compensation among the largest companies by revenue that filed 2021 proxy statements by March 31.

"In 2021, median CEO compensation reached $20 million, a 31% increase from the year prior, due to big jumps in stock awards and cash bonuses based on market performance and company productivity. CEO pay consists of wages, as well as extremely lucrative bonuses, long-term incentives and, most importantly, stock options, which comprise around 85% of CEO compensation, according to Lawrence Mishel, a distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute.

"For comparison, CEO pay decreased by just 1.6% between 2019 and 2020 due to pandemic cuts, from $15.7 million to $15.5 million.

"Median worker compensation at Equilar 100 companies rose from $68,935 in 2020 to $71,869 in 2021, a roughly 4% increase. Equilar says this bump is due in part to companies that offered bonuses and other cash payouts in the recovering pandemic economy that saw increased consumer demand and a tightened supply of workers."