Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama, are set to hold a second union vote after the first election was deemed illegal, a federal labor agency said Tuesday.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that workers at the Bessemer warehouse would vote again on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) on Feb. 4. The second vote comes almost a year after the first election in which Amazon employees overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to join the RWDSU.
Following the unsuccessful unionization bid, labor organizers demanded a new vote, alleging that Amazon improperly placed the election ballot box on company property, which the union argued was a form of intimidation. The union also alleged that Amazon threatened warehouse workers with messages saying the facility might close or they might lose benefits if the union vote succeeded.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered a new unionization election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, ruling that the company violated federal labor law during the first election.
“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along – that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace – and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,” Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement Monday.
“Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union,” he continued.
Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, overwhelmingly rejected a bid to unionize, according to a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) tally of the vote.
More than half of the workers who cast votes in the Bessemer, Alabama election voted against unionization, the NLRB reported Friday morning. Although hundreds of the ballots were contested, largely by the company, Amazon’s margin of victory was large enough that the contested votes were rendered unimportant.
The NLRB counted the vote on a live teleconference that began Thursday and resumed Friday morning with a small group of observers including Amazon representatives, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) representatives and reporters.
The union for a Los Angeles trucking company, Teamsters Local 986, was forced out after nearly 80% of workers signed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to remove it.
The National Labor Relations Act governs private sector workers, unionization and how workers can remove a union from their workplace. In 27 right-to-work states, union payments are voluntary. In California and other non right-to-work states, union payments are mandatory for all unionized and non-union employees.
The National Labor Relations Board denied Amazon’s request to delay a unionization vote in its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse and ensure it’s conducted in-person.
In January, Amazon requested that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) delay the unionization election, arguing that the proposed mail-in ballot election would disenfranchise up to 1,700 workers. The Bessemer, Alabama warehouse’s nearly 5,800 total workers will begin voting in favor or against unionization on Monday.
Just minutes after taking office on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden’s Office of Presidential Personnel demanded that Senate-confirmed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) General Counsel Peter Robb resign. Robb refused, citing the unprecedented nature of the demand, and was fired.
His deputy, Alice Stock, also was asked to resign, refuses, and was fired the next day.