Dividends and Amazon staffers vote to unionize in New York

Every company at some point has a philosophy of whether its workers should unionize or not. In the financial sector, the answer is no, in the electrical utilities the answer is yes. Each of those sectors generate incomes to be profitable to be able to be able to be long term owner of shares with little reason to be concerned. In general the major banks are too big to fail, and the utility regulator tends to increase prices to consumers so a respectable profit is made each year by the utility.

In the retail sector, the biggest anti union companies have been Walmart and Amazon, it also happens those 2 companies are the biggest private sector workers in America. In the case of Walmart, if a store votes to unionize, in the past Walmart has closed the store due to market conditions changing. Both Amazon and Walmart use consulting companies to counteract any union organizing and they are willing to pay the price of the consultants (Amazon spend $4.3 million on anti-union consultants) because they do not want unions.

In an article Karen Weise and Noam Scheiber of The New York Times News Service, Amazon lost a union vote in Staten Island warehouse (Staten Island is part of New York City). In the world of Amazon, they pick locations where union activity is low and the threat of a union is kept low. However there were 8,300 people working at the Amazon warehouse, and 2,654 votes were cast for a union and 2,131 were cast against and the National Labor Relations Board has certified the vote.

Over the past 2 years, Amazon has hired people and now has 1.6 million working for it globally. As opposed to the 2nd Headquarters where cities had bidding wars for the office jobs, the people at the warehouse are essentially timed every second they are in the building and expected to be sorting packages. The workers had concerns, although Amazon does start at $15 a hour minimum wage. In the course of trying to do the work needed to form a union, a number of the organizers were fired and very securely watched. Most of the effort by the organizers was to go to the workers home and talk about the company. In this case the small guy won, then the hard work will begin for expectations of what the union can and can not do for the concerns of the workers.

In the world of unions, all the unions were waiting for the first Amazon facility to be unionized and then they are hoping more will go down that path and the unions have a war chest for that action.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, when you invest in a company your interest is how well the company performs to make a profit and pay dividends. Your interest is secondary on how it does what it does. As you own the shares for a while, you will be more interested in the how but if the company does not deliver to what you think your return should be, there are alternatives.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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