Sunday, May 22, 2022

Union objects to Amazon actions in elections in Bessemer, AL

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The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (or RWDSU) has filed an appeal against Amazon with the National Labor Relations Board, saying the company has again meddled in the election in Bessemer, Alabama (via CNBC

In a press releasethe union claims that the company “threatened an employee with factory closures if the union voted”, barred employees from posting pro-union literature and “supervised and/or gave the impression of overseeing workers engaged in protected coordinated activities,” among others. The union asks the NLRB to schedule a hearing on its objections to determine whether the results of the second Bessemer election should be set aside and a new election must be kept.

The complaint, which you can read in full below, concerns Amazon’s conduct during the union elections that concluded last month. The final outcome of that election is currently unknown – while votes were tallied at 993 to 875 against unionization, there were over 400 contested ballots. The outcome therefore depends on a hearing that has not yet been scheduled.

The election now being challenged was held as a repeat after the RWDSU lost a previous election by a margin of nearly two to one last year. The NLRB found that Amazon was interfering in the first election in Bessemer and ordered a new one.

In a statement, RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum said, “We urge the NLRB to carefully review our concerns and ensure that no company, even with Amazon’s bottomless pockets, is allowed to act above the law.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to The edge‘s request for comment.

Amazon has faced similar allegations before, outside of Bessemer. In January, the NLRB filed a complaint against Amazon, saying it threatened, monitored and harassed workers during the Staten Island union action, and prevented organizers from distributing literature. The agency is also suing the company for firing Gerald Bryson, an Amazon Labor Union organizer, and seeking to end the practice of “trapped public” gatherings.

This means the results of both Amazon’s union elections are currently under dispute — on Thursday, Amazon said it intended to object to the Amazon Labor Union’s victory in New York. The outcome of that election was much more decisive; workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse voted for union work, 2,654 to 2,131.

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