retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Washington Post reports that "US employers posted a record 11.5 million job openings in March, and some 4.5 million Americans quit or changed positions, matching previous highs, reflecting continued strength in the rapidly growing labor market, where workers continue to have the upper hand.

"Meanwhile, the number of new hires - 6.7 million - remained steady, according to a report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics."

The Post writes that the "insatiable need for new workers has forced employers across the economy to offer higher pay and better benefits. Wages have risen 4.7 percent in the past year, although they have not kept up with inflation, which has grown 8.5 percent in the same period. Economists say they expect workers’ pay to continue ticking up in coming months as companies compete for a limited pool of workers."



•  The Washington Post also has a story about how Amazon is likely to draw out any unionization efforts by going to the courts.

Here's how the Post frames the story:

"Last month, an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island became the e-commerce giant’s first U.S. workplace to unionize. But experts say it could take years for the union to formally secure a contract if Amazon chooses to dig in its heels and fight the effort in court.

"Amazon has already sent objections over the union vote to the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency which enforces America’s labor laws. If it loses the objection, it will have several more chances to appeal. But even if the NLRB orders it to sit down with workers and bargain, the company could simply refuse, forcing a court battle that could play out for years.

"'If Amazon follows this playbook, they can string the process out for a few years to break down workers’ newfound enthusiasm for organizing, and maybe try to get the union decertified,' said Lance Compa, a labor consultant and former professor at Cornell University.

"Even if Amazon doesn’t drag its feet, it could take months for regulators to consider Amazon’s objections, and then months more to negotiate a contract if needed."



•  From The Verge:

"Apple Store employees in Atlanta have reached an agreement with the company to hold a union election on June 2nd, according to a copy of the stipulated election agreement obtained by The Verge. The news is an important step forward in the worker-led effort to organize with the Communications Workers of America.

"If the drive is successful, the Cumberland Mall location will be the first unionized Apple retail location in the US. In April, it became the first Apple retail location to file for a union election in the US. Workers at the Grand Central Terminal store in New York have also launched a union drive, as have workers at the Towson Town Center store in Maryland.

"Apple pushed to hold the vote in July, according to a source familiar with the situation. The CWA opposed the later election date, as the move could have given Apple more time to dissuade workers from unionizing. While Apple hasn’t officially said it is against workers organizing, the company is working with anti-union lawyers from Littler Mendelson, the same firm used by companies like Starbucks and McDonald’s."