Alabama Amazon Warehouse Workers Vote Against Forming a Union

Amazon workers in Alabama overwhelmingly voted against forming a union in a high profile vote backed by President Joe Biden and numerous advocacy groups, lawmakers, and celebrities, NPR reports.

Amazon beat back its strongest union push yet -- using questionable tactics -- as workers at its Bessemer warehouse voted 1,798 to 738 against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

The union is expected to file a legal challenge to the election and charges of unfair labor practices by the company.

The union is calling for the National Labor Relations Board, "to determine if the results of the election should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees' freedom of choice."

Big consequences:

The union-push was one of the most high profile and consequential in decades as Amazon has grown to the second-largest employer in the US with some 800,000 employees.

Union leaders said the Bessemer vote has resulted in hundreds of inquiries from Amazon workers across the country about launching their own efforts.

The Alabama vote marked the first union vote at an Amazon warehouse since 2014.

"We're really seeing how the balance is always tipped in favor of employers," Rebecca Givan, a labor studies professor at Rutgers University, told NPR. "Organizing a union under current labor law is extremely challenging — the odds are always stacked against you."

Amazon fought vote hard:

Amazon responded to the unionization push by requiring employees to sit through mandatory “information sessions” and bombarded them with text messages.

The warehouse also filled up with signs urging workers not to accept a union, arguing that it would cost workers union dues even though the company already offers above minimum wage pay and other benefits.

"This particular union can't give us anything that Amazon does not already offer," LaVonette Stokes, a worker who voted against unionizing, told NPR. "There are a [lot] of people who never have issues."

But other workers described “grueling productivity quotas” and little say in how employees are disciplined.


Related News