The regional office of the U.S. labor council ordered a new election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, where workers waged a high-profile campaign to organize the first union in the retail giant’s history.
Following an unsuccessful attempt to organize around 6,000 workers at a warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Earlier this year, union organizers and workers vowed to challenge the results, alleging an aggressive and illegal anti-union campaign that had attracted the attention of the international community.
Workers testified before Congress on working conditions, union activists garnered support from progressive lawmakers and President Joe Biden, along with Senator Bernie Sanders, held rallies with workers as the vote was underway .
Their efforts were met with an anti-union effort that included text messages, one-on-one meetings and mandatory warehouse meetings and a public relations blitz on social media, among other tactics reported by workers and organizers.
Warehouse management also coordinated with the U.S. Postal Service and Amazon headquarters to set up a ballot box in front of the warehouse under a tent provided by the company, which union organizers say was used to intimidate workers.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union argued that Amazon had obstructed employers’ right to vote in union elections and created an “atmosphere of confusion, coercion and / or fear. retaliation and thus hampered the freedom of choice of employees ”.
In August, a labor commission hearing officer suggested that the results of that election be rejected and that a new election be held.
A decision by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board on Nov. 29 determined that Amazon had shown “blatant disregard” for the postal election, arguing that Amazon “had essentially hijacked the process and left a strong impression that ‘he controlled the process’.
“This dangerous and inappropriate message to employees destroys confidence in the [labour board’s] process and in the credibility of the election results, ”Regional Director Lisa Henderson wrote in a file Monday.
Union president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement Monday’s decision “confirms what we have been saying from the start – that Amazon’s intimidation and interference has kept workers from having a say as to whether they wanted a union in their workplace “, which union leaders and workers The regional director of the labor council called” unacceptable and illegal “.
Amazon spokesman Kelly Nantel said in a statement that “it is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that these votes should not count.”
After the election, the labor council collected 1,798 votes against the unionization of the warehouse and 738 votes in favor. Seventy-six ballots were spoiled and 505 ballots were contested. The number of remaining ballots not included in the count was not enough to affect the result, the board said.
The 3,117 ballots among the 5,876 workers eligible to vote scored a 53 percent turnout for the election.
A push to organize Amazon workers has signaled a wave of unionization with some of the world’s biggest brands – including Frito Lay, John Deere, Kelloggs, Nabisco and Starbucks – calling for better terms and wages, or pushing for a union representation.
The Independent Gt