Employees at an Amazon facility in Alabama will have a second chance to vote on unionization, reigniting a national debate.
The e-commerce behemoth has been ordered by a regional director of the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold the election for employees at its Bessemer warehouse once again.
In April, workers rejected a call to form a union by a two-to-one ratio.
The NLRB, on the other hand, claimed in August that Amazon tampered with the election process.
In a statement, Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), said, “Today’s decision confirms what we’ve been 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.”
While the vote represents a significant victory for labor activists, it is not the news Amazon was hoping to hear. “It’s sad that the NLRB has now concluded that those votes shouldn’t count,” a business spokeswoman said in a written statement.
The vote will be rescheduled at a later date.
Amazon, the second largest private employer in the United States, is once again in the spotlight as a result of the election.
In recent decades, union membership has progressively declined in the United States, but the epidemic reignited worries about wage inequality and worker safety, with Amazon attracting a lot of attention.
In New York and Canada, the firm has recently faced vigorous union movements.
US President Joe Biden termed the election a “vitally critical choice” before of the first voting in Bessemer. Celebrities and national Democratic leaders visited the state to assist the union movement, which received Republican support as well.
Leaders of the RWDSU had anticipated that the epidemic, which boosted Amazon’s profits while exposing its employees to new health concerns, would provide a chance for the union to gain traction and set a new norm for Amazon employees across the country.
Organizers linked the Bessemer strike to wider concerns of civil rights and racial justice, citing grievances such as excessive monitoring and abrupt, impersonal treatment by management.
In the end, Amazon triumphed by a landslide, citing workers’ preference for “a direct link with their bosses and the firm.”
The union, on the other hand, claimed that employees were forced to put ballots into a mailbox that was visible to an Amazon camera, giving the impression of monitoring.
If the union campaign succeeds, the employer will be forced to talk with union leaders on matters like work regulations and wages.