Amazon workers get a second chance to team up

Picture for an article titled Amazon Alabama Workers Get a Second Chance to Team

Photography: Jay Reeves (AP)

Warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, will get a second chance in the union election, the National Labor Relations Committee has decided. It was revealed that Amazon shot itself in the leg by interfering in the elections, even outside its significant lever to influence the workers.

This spring, after Amazon warehouse workers voted 1,798 to 738 against a union association within Retail, Wholesale, and the department store union (RWDSU), filed by RWDSU 23 objections claiming that Amazon improperly interfered in the election. In August, the NLRB interrogation officer agreed that Amazon violated labor law, mostly because of the infamous mailbox, reportedly to facilitate postal voting. NLRB Regional Director Lisa Henderson confirmed the decision today.

Given its significant advantages – huge resources and the constant, undivided attention of workers – Amazon’s epic interference is quite astonishing. NLRB specifically said Amazon doesn’t install things like “pass-through boxes” that obviously belonged to the employer. However, Amazon then delegated the USPS to install a mailbox in the parking lot, with regard to security cameras, and set up a suggestive tent around it and hung a banner that read “SPEAK FOR YOURSELF! SEND YOUR VOTE BOOK HERE. ” The emails later revealed that Amazon had instructed the USPS to modify the box to their liking.

The RWDSU objected that the tent and box looked horribly like an employer-run polling station, giving the impression that Amazon could control the outcome of the election and track voter identities, and that the messages in the tent qualified as an election campaign. NLRB agreed.

Syndicate also allegedly that Amazon has threatened to lay off 75 percent of its workforce and close warehouses if workers unite. An Amazon spokesman denied this in an email to Gizmod in April, and the union withdrew that objection. But that hypothetical threat could help explain the dramatic shift in support from the union’s initial claim that 3,000 workers – more than half of Bessemer’s 5,800 employees – initially signed cards in favor of holding the election.

Amazon has also led to costly union breakups consultants, led meetings of the captured audience and allegedly photographed workers ’badges if they spoke. The workers received a lot of texts, e-mails and e-mails with anti-union messages. They spent their days in overheated warehouses surrounded by leaflets insinuating they would lose wages if they joined a union and, if they watched Twitch, they probably saw ads featuring fellow workers. It’s all legal.

In a statement shared with Gizmod, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said that “[i]It is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that these votes do not count. ” Nantel generally reiterated Amazon’s stance against the union, but did not comment on the NLRB’s specific finding that the company had denied workers fair elections.

The election date has not yet been announced. Read the full verdict, with answers to Amazon’s excuses, here:

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Naveen Kumar

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