Amazon workers in Alabama will get another shot to unionize

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But even with the second election, Labor experts say a union victory is a long shot because Amazon will likely appeal and try to delay another vote.

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There will be a new union election for Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama, based on objections to the first vote held in April.

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The move comes as a major blow to Amazon, which had spent nearly a year campaigning aggressively for warehouse workers in Bessemer to reject the union, which they eventually did by a wide margin.

The rare call for do-overs was first announced on Monday by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which led the union’s movement. A National Labor Relations Board spokesperson confirmed the decision but did not yet provide details.

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RWDSU accused Amazon of illegal misconduct during the first vote. In August, the NLRB hearing officer who presided over the case determined that Amazon violated labor law and recommended that the regional director set the results aside and directed another election.

The main reason for the determination was a United States Postal Service mailbox Amazon installed in the parking lot before the election, which may have left the false impression that the company was running the election. Security cameras in the parking lot could scare off workers who thought Amazon might be voting workers off. About 53 percent of the nearly 6,000 workers voted during the first election.

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel called the decision “disappointing.”

“Our employees always have the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they decided not to join RWDSU earlier this year,” she said. “It is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes should not be counted.”

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum sees the NLRB’s decision as a victory.

“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying – that Amazon’s threats and interference made workers want to have a union in their workplace or not – and as the regional director has indicated, this is unacceptable and illegal. Has both,” he said. said in a statement. “Amazon workers deserve a voice at work, which can only come from a union.”

But even with the second election, labor experts say a union victory is a long shot. Amazon will likely appeal and attempt to delay another vote. And even when there is an election, workers can choose to vote against joining a union again. Last time around 1,798 workers rejected the Sangh and 738 voted in its favour.

A repeat of the election means another battle for Amazon with RWDSU. The first poll garnered nationwide attention and shed light on how Amazon treats its employees. It was the largest union push in Amazon’s history and only the second time that an organized effort from within the company had come to a vote.

Pro-union employees at the Bessemer facility said they spent 10-hour shifts on their feet at the warehouse, where online orders are packed and shipped, and didn’t have enough time to take breaks. A union could force Amazon to offer more break time or higher wages, those workers said. Meanwhile, Amazon argued that it already offered more than double the minimum wage in Alabama and benefits to workers without paying union dues.

This is the second attempt by Amazon employees to unionize in the past year.

A group of Amazon employees in Staten Island, New York, withdrew their petition to vote to unionize in early November. However, activists can file petitions.

The event effort in New York City is operating without the help of a national sponsor and is led by a former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls. He said he was fired just hours after holding a walkout last year to protest working conditions at the start of the pandemic.

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