Union alleges Amazon illegally interfered in Alabama warehouse vote, files objection with labor board

Union alleges Amazon illegally interfered in Alabama warehouse vote, files objection with labor board

The labor union that organized an effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Alabama is contesting the results of the election.

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The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which represented workers at the Bessemer facility, announced Thursday that it filed objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), claiming that Amazon interfered with the latest election.

Warehouse workers in Bessemer voted 993 to 875 against forming a union. The labor board said that 416 challenged votes could potentially overturn that result. A hearing to go through the challenged ballots will occur. However, that hearing has yet to be scheduled, the union said.

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« Amazon interfered with the right of its Bessemer, Alabama employees to vote in a free and fair election; a right protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, » the union said in a release.

The union claims Amazon « created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice, » and is demanding a full review from the labor board in order to determine if the election should be set aside.

As part of its argument, the union pointed to last year’s election at the facility wherein the labor board called for a do-over after determining that Amazon unfairly influenced the election.

According to the union, the objections filed Wednesday « have the potential » to set the election aside again.

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Meanwhile, Amazon said that even though employees voted against joining the union, filing objections « is a normal part of the process in case these issues become relevant in the future. »

Still, Amazon argued that the RWDSU « challenged an unusual number of votes » and is focused on « resolving those challenges so every employee who voted can be heard. »

A supporter of the RWDSU union effort takes a photo of the RWDSU union rep standing with other supporters outside the Amazon fulfillment warehouse at the center of a unionization drive on March 29, 2021 in Bessemer, Alabama. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told FOX Business in a statement that the company has repeatedly said that it wants « employees’ voices to be heard. »

Nantel said Amazon hopes « the NLRB counts every valid vote. »

This month’s outcome was a familiar one for the RWDSU. Last year, the majority of workers voted against forming a union. RWDSU was hoping for a different outcome this time around – in which mail-in ballots were sent to 6,100 workers in early February – but vote turnout was lagging.

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The RWDSU said election there had a turnout rate of about 39% this year, much smaller than last.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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