A National Labor Relations Board official recommended that an Amazon warehouse in Alabama hold a new union election over illegal actions by the retail giant, CNN reports.
An NLRB hearing officer said that evidence shows that Amazon "interfered with the laboratory conditions necessary to conduct a fair election” when it launched a campaign to derail a unionization vote at the warehouse.
The NLRB has not made a final decision but the recommendation came in response to objections from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which alleged that Amazon’s conduct during the two-month election prevented "a free and uncoerced exercise of choice by the employees."
The RWDSU called for the election result to be tossed out.
The RWDSU said that the officer who heard the case agreed that Amazon violated labor law and will recommend a second election be held.
Amazon accused of derailing vote:
The union’s complaints centered on a mailbox Amazon installed in the parking lot used by their employees.
Union elections are usually conducted in person but the NLRB allowed workers to vote by mail on the issue due to the pandemic, against Amazon’s objections. Amazon had a USPS mailbox installed in the warehouse parking lot.
"Even though the NLRB definitively denied Amazon's request for a drop box on the warehouse property, Amazon felt it was above the law and worked with the postal service anyway to install one. They did this because it provided a clear ability to intimidate workers," the union said earlier this year.
The hearing officer determined that the company’s "unilateral decision to create, for all intents and purposes, an onsite collection box for NLRB ballots destroyed the laboratory conditions and justifies a second election."
Amazon pushes back:
"Our employees had a chance to be heard during a noisy time when all types of voices were weighing into the national debate, and at the end of the day, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of a direct connection with their managers and the company,” Amazon said in a statement to CNN. “Their voice should be heard above all else, and we plan to appeal to ensure that happens."
The final vote was 1,798 against unionization and 738 to unionize.
"It's easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that's not true,” the company said in a statement. “Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us. And Amazon didn't win — our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union."