Second Vote to Organize Union Troubled Alabama Amazon Plant Will Be Held by Mail

Workers at an Amazon plant in Bessemer, Alabama, will vote again next month whether to unionize after the federal Labor Board orders new elections. But a union that raised the issue of how early elections were run in April protested again on Tuesday, this time over the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to hold votes through the mail.

“Amazon’s misconduct during the first union election made the results so bad that the NLRB reversed the results and directed a second election for workers in Bessemer, Alabama,” the retail, wholesale and department store union said in a statement. Statement, “We are deeply concerned that the decision fails to adequately deter Amazon from continuing its offensive behavior in a new election.”

The RWDSU said it had suggested several measures after the first election that “could have made the process better for workers,” but the NLRB followed none of those measures. The RWDSU did not elaborate on its concerns about the election format or the measures it has suggested.

In a 20-page decision ordering a new election issued in November, the NLRB regional director, Lisa Henderson, objected to Amazon’s setting up of US Postal Service mailboxes to collect ballots at key employee entrances.

“Employers’ major disregard for the Board’s distinctive mail-ballot process compromised the authority of the Board and made a free and fair election impossible,” Henderson wrote.

“By setting up a postal mailbox at the key employee entrance, the employer essentially hijacked the process and gave a strong impression that it controls the process. This dangerous and unfair to employees of message board procedures and election results. destroys trust in credibility.”

A nearly empty parking lot after all votes in favor or against unionization during a work day at an Amazon warehouse on April 8, 2021 in Bessemer, Alabama. The retail, wholesale and department store union argues that Amazon has “tainted” the new voting process.
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The National Labor Relations Board said on Tuesday that ballots would be mailed on February 4 and should be returned before counting begins on March 28.

Ordering a new election was a blow to Amazon, which spent nearly a year campaigning aggressively to reject the union for warehouse workers in Bessemer, which they eventually did by a wide margin.

“Our employees always have the option of whether or not to join a union, and they decided not to join RWDSU last year,” Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agrit said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “Their voices were heard again” in Bessemer.

RWDSUs are facing an uphill battle given the so-high layoff rates for employees, but Amazon last month struck a deal with the NLRB to allow its employees to organize freely — and without retaliation. .

As per the agreement, the online behemoth said it would reach out to its warehouse employees – former and current – via email who were on the job any time since March 22 of last year, to inform them of their organizing rights. .

The agreement outlined that Amazon employees, which number 750,000 in the US, have more room to organize within buildings. For example, Amazon pledged that it would not threaten employees with discipline or call the police when they engage in union activity in outside non-work areas during non-working hours.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Workers at an Amazon plant in Bessemer, Alabama, will vote again next month whether to unionize after the federal Labor Board orders new elections. The Amazon logo is displayed outside the Amazon UK Services Limited warehouse on January 5, 2022 in Warrington, England.
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