NLRB Regional Office Orders Amazon to Hold Another Election in Alabama

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. November 30, 2021
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An Amazon facility

​A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional office ordered Amazon on Nov. 29 to hold another union election at one of its warehouses in Bessemer, Ala., following Amazon's resounding victory against unionization in the first election there. We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Were Conditions for a Fair Election Undermined?

The NLRB's regional director for the Atlanta region wrote that Amazon "gave a strong impression that it controlled the process" by arranging for the installation of a Postal Service collection box at the warehouse. The box was surrounded by a tent that appeared to be in view of Amazon's surveillance cameras. Amazon said the box was intended to make it easier for employees to vote and that it did not have access to the ballots that workers deposited in it.

(The New York Times)

Union Decisively Defeated in First Election

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) lost the first election by a margin of more than 2 to 1. "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 spokeswoman said. "It's disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn't count." Amazon has until Dec. 13 to ask the full NLRB to review the regional director's decision. Even if the company seeks a review, the election could move forward while the board considers Amazon's arguments.

(The Washington Post)

Union President's Statement

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement, "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. Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union."

(CNBC)

Unionization Drives at Amazon Are Rare in U.S.

Unions are a prominent presence at Amazon in Europe, but the company has so far successfully defeated labor-organizing efforts in the U.S. In October, workers from a group of warehouses in Staten Island, N.Y., petitioned federal officials for a union election but later withdrew the request.

(NPR)

Hearing Officer Had Called for New Election

Prior to the NLRB regional director's decision, an NLRB hearing officer had called for a new union election in Bessemer in August. Amazon noted at the time that the warehouse's workers "overwhelmingly" opposed unionization, a spokesman said in a statement. "Their voice should be heard above all else and we plan to appeal to ensure that happens," he said.

(SHRM Online) and (The Washington Post)

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