It is now clear when Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama will vote in a second mandatory union election. Like Motherboardby Lauren Kaori Gurley grades, the National Labor Relations Board has issued a notice that employees at the BHM1 call center can begin voting with secret ballots by mail on February 4, with vote counting beginning March 28. Anyone employed at the company from the first week of January 2022 is eligible to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union.
The NLRB ordered the re-vote after determining that Amazon interfered in the first union election in early 2021. The RWDSU filed 23 objections following the “no” vote of 1,798 to 738, accusing Amazon of installing an unapproved mailbox to intimidate employees, in addition to distributing anti-union material such as badges and signs. After an investigation, the NLRB found that Amazon had a “blatant disregard” for the mail-in voting process that made a fair election “impossible”.
RWDSU was not completely satisfied with the warning. On a declaration, the organization claimed that the NLRB decision “fails to adequately prevent” Amazon from skewing the vote. Meanwhile, Amazon repeated its November comment in response to Ploonge’s questions. He maintained that warehouse workers voted “overwhelmingly” against joining the union and found it “disappointing” that the NLRB rejected the election.
As before, the stakes are high. A pro-union vote would give warehouse workers collective bargaining rights they could use to improve wages and working conditions – both frequent points of contention. Whatever the outcome, it’s safe to assume the election will attract fresh scrutiny from politicians and stars who see it as a turning point for work at the internet shopping giant.
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