Amazon Warehouse to hold union elections in February after company breaks law | Local News

Amazon Warehouse to hold union elections in February after company breaks law

| News Today | Local News

Workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, will make their voices heard in a second union election in February after the retail giant broke the law during the original vote Last year.

The National Labor Relations Board said on Tuesday it would send out ballots to workers on February 4, with the seven-week postal election ending on March 28. The election will determine whether approximately 6,000 settlement workers will be represented by the Union of Retailers, Wholesalers and Department Stores.

The RWDSU gathered enough union cards to call an election last year, but workers ultimately voted against organizing in a vote that ended in April. However, the union alleged that Amazon had violated the law and NLRB officials ultimately claimed. found merit in their central charges.

When the board finds that a company may have illegally influenced the vote, it has the power to order a re-election. However, these second votes are difficult for unions to win, and workers have generally already been the subject of an anti-union campaign by the employer.

The union said in a statement that it had asked the board of directors to set certain conditions for the second election to prevent any unlawful interference by the company, and it was disappointed that the board of directors administration refused to adopt them. According to a spokesperson, the union had asked to be able to speak to employees at workplaces to advocate for unionization, which employers are generally not obligated to provide.

“The voice of workers can and should be heard fairly, unhindered by Amazon’s unlimited power to control what must be a fair and free election, and we will continue to hold them accountable for their actions,” the union said. .

The NLRB ordered a second election at the Bessemer warehouse because Amazon didn’t play cleanly.

Elijah Nouvelage via Getty Images

Amazon said in a statement that “our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU last year.” The company added, “We look forward to our team in [Bessemer] make their voices heard again.

As the initial elections began, Amazon arranged to have a U.S. Postal Service letterbox set up on the warehouse grounds, where it was surrounded by Amazon propaganda, even though board officials from administration had already decided not to have ballot boxes on the site. NLRB regional director Lisa Henderson discovered that Amazon hijacked the election and gave workers “a strong impression that it was in control of the process.”

“This dangerous and inappropriate message to employees destroys confidence in board processes and the credibility of election results,” she wrote in her decision order a new vote.

In this first election, workers voted 1,798 to 738 against joining the RWDSU, although several hundred more ballots were contested and unopened, and these could have been in favor of the union.

Amazon deals with unions in some other countries, but it has so far remained unionless in the United States, where the Seattle-based company employs around one million people. Amazon’s growing influence in the retail and logistics industries has made it all the more urgent for organized workers to find a foothold in the company’s operations.

The company operated a aggressive campaign against union last year in the run-up to the Bessemer vote, holding ‘captive audience’ meetings where workers heard anti-union arguments, and hiring ‘union avoidance’ consultants whose job it is to deter workers to unionize. Several of these consultants have each been paid $ 3,200 per day for their work, according to disclosure documents with the Ministry of Labor.

This story has been updated with comments from Amazon.

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