Earlier today the National Labor Relations Board announced the results of the vote on whether workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., would join a union. The vote was 738 in favor to 1,798 against. It’s bad news, but it doesn’t mean workers in future Amazon campaigns won’t or can’t win. They can. The results were not surprising, however, for reasons that have more to do with the approach used in the campaign itself than any other factor.

The stories of horrific working conditions at Amazon are well-known. Long before the campaign at Bessemer, anyone paying even scant attention would be aware that workers toil at such a grueling pace that they resort to urinating in bottles so as not to get disciplined for taking too much time to use the facilities, which the company calls “time off task.” Christian Smalls was fired a year ago for speaking publicly about people not getting personal protective equipment in his Amazon facility, in bright-blue state New York. Jennifer Bates, the Amazon employee from the Bessemer warehouse, delivered testimony to Congress that would make your stomach turn. Workers at Amazon desperately need to unionize, in Alabama, Germany—and any other place where the high-tech, futuristic employer with medieval attitudes about employees sets up a job site of any kind. With conditions so bad, what explains the defeat in Bessemer?

Three factors weigh heavily in any unionization election: the outrageously vicious behavior of employers—some of it illegal, most fully legal—including harassing and intimidating workers, and telling bold lies (which, outside of countries with openly repressive governments, is unique to the United States); the strategies and tactics used in the campaign by the organizers; and the broader social-political context in which the union election is being held. for Further reading click here