Amazon ordered to rerun contentious Alabama union election

The labor relations board found that Amazon interfered with its Alabama warehouse's union election.

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Mariella Moon
November 30th, 2021
In this article: news, Amazon, gear, NLRB, union
Las Vegas - Circa June 2019: Amazon.com Fulfillment Center. Amazon is the Largest Internet-Based Retailer in the United States
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Amazon will have to redo the union election held at its Bessemer, Alabama fulfillment center back in April. According to Politico, Lisa Henderson, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 10 Director, has ordered the e-commerce giant to hold another vote mostly due to the fact that Amazon installed a US Postal Service mailbox in front of the warehouse to collect ballots. 

The election results were 1,798 to 738, with workers voting against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). After those results came out, the RWDSU filed 23 objections, accusing the company of interfering with the elections. One of those complaints pointed out that Amazon installed the ballot box without approval from the NLRB and in view of security cameras that made workers feel they were under surveillance. The labor relations board sided with the union and found that Amazon interfered with the election by installing the mailbox and offering employees anti-union badges and signs. 

Henderson wrote in the documents ordering a new election:

"By causing the Postal Service to install a cluster mailbox unit, communicating and encouraging employees to cast their ballots using the mailbox, wrapping the mailbox with its slogan, and placing the mailbox at a location where employees could reasonably believe they were being surveilled, the Employer engaged in objectionable conduct that warrants setting aside the election.

The Employer’s flagrant disregard for the Board’s typical mail-ballot procedure compromised the authority of the Board and made a free and fair election impossible."

Amazon, of course, criticized the NLRB's decision. In a statement sent to The Washington Post, spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement:

"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. It's disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count."

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