Nov 29, 2021 - Economy

Amazon ordered to redo union vote in Alabama

Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

A U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official on Monday called for a re-vote in a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

Why it matters: The move could set the stage for another organizing drive at the e-commerce giant, which has, so far, fought off unionizing efforts in the U.S.

  • Amazon previously indicated it would challenge any ruling stipulating a second vote should take place.

Catch up quick: Amazon has long faced criticism for workplace conditions in its warehouses, including allegations of failing to protect workers from the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes.

  • In a vote tallied in April, workers at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, voted more than 2-1 against unionizing, delivering a blow to labor activists hoping to bring unions into tech.
  • In August, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union alleged the e-commerce giant had illegally interfered in the mail-in election. An NLRB hearing officer later submitted a recommendation to hold a new election.

What they're saying: "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace," Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said.

  • "Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union," he added.
  • “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," an Amazon spokesperson told Axios.
  • "While we’ve made great progress in important areas like pay and safety, we know there are plenty of things that we can keep doing better, both in our fulfillment centers and in our corporate offices, and that's our focus—to work directly with our employees to keep getting better every day.”

Go deeper: What Amazon's win over union organizers means for tech

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