US labour board calls for new union election at Amazon warehouse in Alabama

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The U.S. Labor Board’s regional office has ordered a new election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, where workers launched a high-profile campaign to organize the first union in the retail giant’s history.

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After an unsuccessful bid to unionize about 6,000 workers at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama earlier this year, union organizers and workers vowed to challenge the results, accusing them of an aggressive and illegal anti-union campaign that has sparked international protests. was examined.

Activists testified to Congress about working conditions, union campaigners garnered the support of progressive lawmakers, and President Joe Biden, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders, rallied with activists during the vote.


Their efforts were met with an anti-union effort that included text messages, face-to-face meetings and mandated meetings on the warehouse floor, and a social media PR blitz, among other tactics reported by workers and organizers.

Warehouse management also coordinated with the US Postal Service and Amazon headquarters to stage a ballot dropbox in front of the warehouse under a tent provided by the company, which union organizers allege was used to intimidate workers. Was.

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The retail, wholesale and department store union argued that Amazon interfered with employers’ rights to vote in union elections, and “created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of retaliation, and thus the freedom of choice of employees.” intervened”.

In August, a Labor Board hearing officer suggested that the results of that election be thrown out and that a new election be held.

On November 29, a decision by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board determined that Amazon showed a “major disregard” for the mail-in ballot election, arguing that Amazon had “essentially hijacked the process and given a strong impression that it controls the process.”

“This dangerous and inappropriate message to employees destroys trust in the company” [labour board’s] in the credibility of the procedures and election results,” regional director Lisa Henderson wrote in a filing on Monday.

Union president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement Monday that the decision “confirms what we had been saying all along – that Amazon’s threats and interference have made workers want to have a union in their workplace or not.” prevented from speaking impartially about it,” which union leaders and the regional director of the labor board have called “unacceptable and illegal.”

Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement that “it is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes should not count.”

Labor Board after the election counted 1,798 votes were cast against the construction of the godown and 738 in support. Seventy-six ballots were canceled and 505 ballots were challenged. The board said that the number of remaining ballots not included in the counting of votes was not sufficient to affect the result.

Of the 5,876 workers eligible to vote, 3,117 ballots cast 53 percent of the vote for the election.

A push to organize Amazon workers prompted a wave of labor organizing with some of the world’s biggest brands – including Frito Lay, John Deere, Kellogg’s, Nabisco and Starbucks – calling for better conditions and wages. , or are pushing for union representation.


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