Labor’s Hard Choice in Amazon Age: Play Along or Get Tough 科技巨頭亞馬遜時代下 勞工的艱難選擇
It’s one of the most vexing challenges facing the labor movement: how to wield influence in an era increasingly dominated by technology giants that are often resistant to unions.
Are workers best served when unions take an adversarial stance toward such companies? Or should labor groups seek cooperation with employers, even if the resulting deals do little to advance labor’s broader goals?
The debate has flared up around labor’s efforts to make inroads with the likes of Uber and Airbnb, businesses that allow drivers and homeowners to earn income as contractors. And it was on vivid display in the political battle over Amazon’s plan to create a new headquarters in New York with 25,000 jobs.
The plan fell apart in the face of a backlash over public subsidies, resentment of the covert process in which the city and the state negotiated the deal, and concern about its neighborhood impact. But labor issues were also a factor, giving rise to tensions even among unions.
In the more confrontational camp were labor groups led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which called on the city and the state to withhold nearly $3 billion in subsidies unless Amazon established a “fair process” for its warehouse workers in the city to unionize. The retail workers said they were open to negotiating what that meant.
“I think we stood on principle,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the retail workers’ president. “If you’re aggressively anti-union, we shouldn’t be giving you subsidies.”
A company executive told the City Council in January that Amazon would not remain neutral in an organizing campaign at its local facilities, though an Amazon spokesman said last month“We respect the rights of our employees to choose to join or not join a union.”
In the engagement camp was the local council of building trade unions, whose members were likely to get work from Amazon’s Queens construction. They were joined by a Service Employees International Union local, which had gained the right to represent janitors and other service workers at the Queens complex.
“Their presence in New York — a progressive community, a union town — was eventually going to lead to some potential change down the road,” said Héctor J. Figueroa, president of the service employees local, known as 32BJ.
Startups are offering access to doctors, prescription drugs and wellness programs as fast and easy as hailing an Uber driver. Experts say this is the early stages of a movement that could disrupt the health services industry, which critics have long contended suffers from soaring costs and reduced access to care.
“Health care delivery is so broken that we need to explore new channels — new conduits — and this represents one of them,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and author of “The Patient Will See You Now.”
The on-demand economy, which offers consumers immediate access to goods and services, surged 58 percent in 2017 from the previous year to an estimated $75.7 billion, according to a study by Rockbridge Associates, a market research firm.
As the industry swells, dozens of health and wellness companies are tapping the trend.
Heal, DispatchHealth, MedZed, Dose Healthcare and Pager will send a doctor or a nurse practitioner to a person’s home or workplace to treat nonemergency problems like strep throat or a sprained ankle. The I.V. Doc offers intravenous treatments for conditions like jet lag, hangovers and food poisoning. And Capsule will deliver prescriptions to a person’s doorstep.
Some startups — especially on-demand medical companies, like Heal and DispatchHealth — needed substantial cash to hire doctors, lease vehicles and bring in administrative staff to handle insurance claims.
But the potential to be the next “unicorn” — a startup valued at $1 billion or more — has created a crowded field.
The popularity of the I.V. Doc prompted a flurry of smaller companies, like IVDrips, Drip Hydration and the Hangover Club/NutriDrip, to offer similar services — sometimes at cheaper prices. To fend off competition, the I.V. Doc recently expanded to offer injectable drugs, like Botox and Restylane, as well as postoperative care for plastic surgery.
IV Doc大受歡迎，促使一些較小的公司如IVDrips，Drip Hydration與Hangover Club或NutriDrip提供類似服務，有時候收費更低。為了擺脫競爭，IV Doc近來擴大服務範圍，開始提供注射藥物如保妥適肉毒桿菌素與瑞絲朗玻尿酸，以及整形手術的術後照護。