RWDSU challenges Amazon vote, citing bullying

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Alabama Amazon workers voted against joining a union. But according to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union, Amazon influenced its bottom line.

The union said it would file objections to the conduct of the election on charges of unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board. The fight to organize workers at Amazon’s distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama ended with 1,798 “no” votes, 738 “yes” votes, 76 “spoiled” ballots and 505 no ballots counts which were contested by RWDSU officials. The NLRB said in a statement that their challenges weren’t enough to change the outcome of the vote.

According to the union, more than 3,000 workers (out of 5,876 eligible workers) voted in the election. RWDSU believes the retail giant interfered with the right to vote of its employees in free and fair elections protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

Union officials accused Amazon of leading an intimidation effort in the hope of influencing the vote.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

“Amazon has left no stone unturned in its efforts to supply gas to its own employees,” Appelbaum said. “We will not let Amazon’s lies, deception and illegal activity go unchallenged, which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the blatant and clearly illegal actions taken by Amazon in the union vote. Amazon knew full well that unless they did everything they could, even illegal activities, their workers would have continued to support the union. “

According to a Washington Post report, emails obtained by RWDSU after a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that Amazon executives pressured the US Postal Service to set up a mailbox just outside the warehouse. Bessemer.

In January, Amazon brought forward a motion to call for a suspension of union elections and appealed the decision of Region 10 of the NLRB. Council rejected the two motions which described the voting process.

Amazon employees complained about how restroom use and stretching counted toward ‘free time task’ (TOT), how the company tracked the number of packages each worker analyzed, and how they counted. received an automated essay every 30 minutes.

In recent months, Amazon workers have received public support from elected officials, the NFL Players Association, the Writers Guild of America East and West (including Tina Fey) and US President Joe Biden. Biden’s support for the union was the first time a president has advocated externally for a union election.

“This shows what happens when our woefully outdated labor laws allow companies to get away with blatantly illegal anti-union activity, knowing that the worst they will get will be a slap in the wrist,” the president said. Alabama AFL-CIO Bren Riley after the results were released. “Hell, for Jeff Bezos, a few thousand dollars billed by the National Labor Relations Board is what he earns in seconds.”

But Bezos and his company are pushing back the allegations.

“It’s easy to predict that the union will say that Amazon won this election because we bullied the employees, but that’s not true,” the statement read. “Our employees have heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policy makers and the media than they have heard from us. And Amazon didn’t win – our employees chose to vote against union membership. Our people are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we’ve always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to deliver great compensation and benefits in a safe and secure workplace. inclusive.

“We are not perfect, but we are proud of our team and what we offer, and we will continue to work to improve ourselves every day.”

Regarding accusations that the company interfered in the vote, an Amazon spokesperson said everything was copacetic with the voting process.

“We respect the right of our employees to join, form or not join a union or other legal organization of their choice, without fear of retaliation, intimidation or harassment,” said the spokesperson. word. “We followed all NLRB rules and guidelines regarding union campaigns.”

Maritza Silva-Farrell, executive director of ALIGN, said Amazon’s actions reveal how fear and bullying are part of the everyday fabric of its business model.

“The black-led organizing campaign in Bessemer only shows that workers across the country are coming together and standing up against unfair working conditions, constant surveillance and abuse of power,” said Silva-Farrell.

Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ SEIU, compared the union struggle to another fight and explained how Amazon has yet to silence its workers in Alabama and across the country.

“Amazon workers across the country will continue to organize because they know we have a broken economy, where workers’ hours are increasing while their wages and benefits decline,” Bragg said. “COVD-19 and rising inequality have exposed how much workers in all industries want and need unions. Joining a trade union is often unnecessarily difficult.

“In most states, it’s easier to buy an AR-15 than to join a union.”

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