NEW YORK – The National Labor Relations Board has ordered a new union election for Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, based on objections to the first vote in April.
The move, announced Monday, is a blow to Amazon, which spent nearly a year aggressively campaigning for warehouse workers in Bessemer to disapprove of the union, which they eventually did by a wide margin.
The board has yet to set a date for the second election and has not determined whether it will be held in person or by mail.
The rare call for do-overs was first announced by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which led the union movement.
In a 20-page decision, NLRB regional director Lisa Henderson focused more on the installation of Amazon’s US Postal Service mail boxes at key employee entrances, which could have led to the misconception that the company itself was conducting the election. Was being Process. Henderson also rejected Amazon’s argument that it was simplifying voting and trying to encourage as many voting as possible.
Henderson said in his decision, “Employer’s major disregard for the Board’s specific mail-ballot process compromised the authority of the Board and made a free and fair election impossible.” “By setting up a postal mailbox at the key employee entrance, the employer essentially hijacked the process and gave a strong impression that it controls the process. This dangerous and unfair to employees of message board procedures and election results. destroys trust in credibility.”
RWDSU accused Amazon of illegal misconduct during the first vote. In August, the NLRB hearing officer presiding over the case determined that Amazon violated labor law and recommended that Henderson set the results aside and direct another election.
About 53% of the roughly 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,” Nantel said. “It is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes should not be counted.”
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum saw 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.”
The new election order will remain in place unless Amazon places a request within the next 10 days for review with the full board of the NLRB. This could set up one of several scenarios, including withholding the election altogether if the full board reverses the regional director’s decision, or nullifying the results if the board aligns with Amazon after a vote of union. The party is already done.
But if a second election is allowed to go ahead, labor experts say a union victory is a long shot. Seattle-based 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.
Amazon has been fighting two separate attempts by workers to unionize over the past year.
Former Amazon employee Christian Smalls is organizing an effort at a distribution center in Staten Island, New York, without the help of a national sponsor. The Labor Board was expected to hold hearings to determine whether there was enough interest to form a union, but less than two weeks later, the Smalls-led group withdrew its petition. Workers, however, can refine.
Other organizing efforts are underway ahead of Amazon, involving employees from three different Starbucks stores in and around Buffalo, New York. Meanwhile, thousands of Kellogg’s employees are on strike amid widespread labor unrest across the country.