National Labor Relations Board Orders Amazon to Hold Another Alabama Union Vote

A National Labor Relations Board official calls for Amazon to allow a revote by workers at an Alabama warehouse after organizers accused the company of interfering with the first election, The Washington Post reports.

Workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer earlier this year voted by a 2 to 1 margin to reject unionizing with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

But Amazon, which fiercely opposes the unionization effort, was accused of interfering in the election.

The company pressured employees to display anti-union paraphernalia and installed an unmarked mailbox in front of the warehouse, raising the specter that the company had a role in collecting and counting ballots.

NLRB orders revote:

The NLRB’s Atlanta region director, Lisa Henderson, ordered a revote over Amazon’s “flagrant disregard” for labor procedures.

She particularly called out the installation of the mailbox, writing that the company “essentially highjacked the process and gave a strong impression that it controlled the process.”

Henderson said there were “more than 49 postal branches with secure receptacles within 20 miles of the distribution center, in addition to the residential mailboxes available to most employees.”

Henderson also said Amazon “improperly polled employees when it presented small groups of employees with the open and observable choice to pick up or not pick up ‘Vote No’ paraphernalia in front of” managers.

She ordered Amazon to post a notice announcing the results of the first election were thrown out “because the National Labor Relations Board found the Employer interfered with the employees’ exercise of a free and reasoned choice by creating the appearance of irregularity in the election procedure due to issues surrounding the installation of a mailbox outside the main entrance and by improperly polling employees’ support during mandatory meetings.”

Amazon “disappointed”:

“Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU earlier this year,” Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said in a statement. “It’s disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count.”

The RWDSU celebrated the decision.

“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along — that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace — and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,” union president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement. “Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union.”


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