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RWP Labor

Meet Amazon's Unionbusters

Amazon hired a former Teamster official to break the union in Alabama

Kris LaGrange's picture
Feb 10, 2021

On February 8th a historic election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama started. Due to COVID-19, the election is being held by mail and votes are being accepted until the end of March. UCOMM has previously reported on union-busting efforts at the warehouse and now The Intercept is shining new light on who the union busters are.

According to a report from The Intercept, Amazon has contracted with union-buster Russell Brown to prevent the Alabama warehouse from going union. Brown is being paid $3,200 a day, plus expenses, for his evil work.

Brown heads RWP Labor, which according to their website is one of the nation’s leading labor experts in working with companies to maintain a union-free workplace. Brown also serves as the President of the Center for Independent Employees, a Koch-brothers backed think tank that lobbies to weaken the political power of unions. They received $18,000 from the anti-union Koch Brothers in 2017

RWP Labor also includes a traitor to the union ranks in Rebecca Smith, who claims to have worked for 20 years in the labor movement including working for the Teamsters as the Executive Director of Training for Southern Nevada. Since leaving the Teamsters she has become anti-union, even writing a book entitled “Union Hypocrisy.” She claims to have a winning record-busting union and has worked on anti-union campaigns for governments, non-profits, and companies in the airline, transportation, healthcare, hospitality, energy, and retail sectors. According to the CWA, Smith left the Teamsters after a petition was circulated to have her removed because of her gross incompetence.

According to client testimonials, Smith uses her experience working for a union to advocate against them.

“Your frank discussions about your personal experiences, the collective bargaining process, and Teamster methods and tactics helped us achieve the overwhelming victories at our Dallas and Garland terminals,” said W.C. a director of HR at a company that defeated an organizing drive by Teamsters Local 745 in Dallas.

According to Wired and RWDSU, the union organizing the workers, Amazon workers in Alabama have been forced to sit in “classes” where instructors lie to them about the dangers of unionization, including telling them their wages will go down. When workers challenge these claims they are brought to the front of the room and their ID badges are photographed.

Brown has worked as a union-buster for several decades. Some of his clients include UPS, General Electric, Krispy Kreme, Kumho Tire, ProPacific Fresh, and the St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center Hospitals. Considering that at least a few of these employers are now union employers, Brown may not be worth his retainer.

Beyond union-busting, Brown has been active in high profile anti-union lobbying, including lobbying against the PRO Act. His name can also be found on many high-profile coalition letters supporting Republican causes.

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