Labor board orders a do-over in Amazon warehouse union election

Enlarge / An Amazon warehouse in Germany on April 2, 2020.

A regional official with the National Labor Relations Board has called for a new union election at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, following the recommendations. issued in August by a hearing officer. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union (RWDSU), which seeks to represent workers at the Bessemer warehouse, filed 23 objections challenging the fairness of the election shortly after the votes were tallied in April.

No date has been set for the new elections and Amazon could still appeal the decision to the full National Labor Relations Board.

The decision to call a new election depends mainly on a mailbox that Amazon installed in the warehouse parking lot to collect the ballots. According to the NLRB report (PDF), the mailbox was installed without the approval of the NRLB, giving the impression that the box was being watched and that Amazon, not the NLRB, was conducting the choice. Amazon also set up a tent over the mailbox with Amazon’s anti-union campaign messages “printed on at least one side,” and the company held “mandatory small group meetings” where it provided anti-union campaign materials to employees.

The election that began on February 8, 2021 was annulled because the National Labor Relations Board determined that the Employer interfered with the exercise of a free and reasoned election of the employees by creating the appearance of irregularity in the electoral procedure due to related problems. with installation. from a mailbox outside the main entrance and incorrectly probing for employee support during mandatory meetings. Therefore, a new election will be held in accordance with the terms of this Notice of Second Election. All eligible voters must understand that the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, grants them the right to cast their votes as they see fit and protects them in the exercise of this right, without interference from either party.

The original union election at the Bessemer warehouse took place in February and March 2021, and the votes were counted in early April. The final count was not particularly tight, with 738 votes in favor of unionization and 1,798 votes against; another 505 ballots in dispute would not have affected the outcome in one way or another.

Amazon strongly opposed unionizing the Bessemer warehouse, and successful unionization among its workers could encourage other Amazon employees to unionize. the Union of Amazonian Workers, an organization independent of existing unions like RWDSU, is currently seeking to unionize Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in New York City.

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