Amazon faces a second union vote at an Alabama warehouse next month after the NLRB found the company interfered with the first election

Amazon worker boxes mask
  • Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, will have a second union vote next month.
  • The NLRB concluded Amazon “interfered with the employees’ exercise of a free and reasoned choice” in a union vote last year.
  • Voting in the second election will begin on Feb. 4 by secret ballot. Votes will be counted on March 28.

Amazon will face a second union vote next month after the company was found to have pressured workers into voting against unionization in an election last year. 

The National Labor Relations Board issued a notice Tuesday saying the roughly 6,000 workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, will again vote on whether or not they want to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

The notice said the results of the warehouse’s union vote last year were set aside because the NLRB found that Amazon had “interfered with the employees’ exercise of a free and reasoned choice by creating the appearance of irregularity in the election procedure by causing a mailbox to be installed outside the Employer’s main entrance and by improperly polling employees’ support during mandatory meetings.”

“Therefore, a new election will be held in accordance with the terms of this Notice of Second Election,” the document continued. “All eligible voters should understand the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, gives them the right to cast their ballots as they see fit and protects them in the exercise of this right, free from interference by any of the parties.”

The new election will be carried out by mail via secret ballot. It will begin on February 4, and votes will be counted on March 28.

In a statement to Insider, Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said, “Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU last year. We look forward to our team in BHM1 having their voices heard again.”

Last April, workers at the Bessemer warehouse had voted against unionization, with 70.9% of the valid votes counted opposing unionization.

Shortly after, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union filed 23 objections to Amazon’s conduct during the election. The union accused the company of threatening to fire workers if they voted to unionize. In response, Amazon said at the time, “Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda.”

In August, an NLRB official found that Amazon violated labor law during the election and recommended a new vote be held, according to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Workers at the warehouse have said Amazon used anti-union tactics during the vote, including putting up signs against unionization in restrooms and pushing for the USPS to install a mailbox outside the warehouse, which could have intimidated workers.

In a press release, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said, “Amazon’s misconduct during the first union election so tainted the outcome that the NLRB overturned the results and directed a second election for workers in Bessemer, Alabama. We are deeply concerned that the decision fails to adequately prevent Amazon from continuing its objectionable behavior in a new election.”

“We proposed to the NLRB a number of remedies that could have made the process fairer to workers, which were not taken up in the Notice of Election issued today,” the union’s statement continued. “Workers’ voices can and must be heard fairly, unencumbered by Amazon’s limitless power to control what must be a fair and free election, and we will continue to hold them accountable for their actions.”

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