- Amazon released its official response to the union results at its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse.
- Workers voted against forming a union.
- Amazon thanked workers for taking part in the vote, and denied that it “intimidated employees.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Amazon has released its official response to the results of the union election at its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse – in which employees voted against forming the company’s first-ever union.
The company thanked employees for taking part in the election, and said in the end, 16% of workers in the warehouse voted for forming a union. A total 55% of the warehouse’s 5,800-strong workforce took part in the union election. The final tally counted 1,798 votes against unionizing and 738 votes for the union.
Amazon pushed back against allegations made by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) that it illegally tampered with the election by intimidating workers.
“It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true. Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us,” Amazon said.
The RWDSU announced Friday it has filed official objections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) about Amazon’s tactics during the election, which ran from February 8 to March 29. “We demand a comprehensive investigation over Amazon’s behavior in corrupting this election,” RWDSU president, Stuart Appelbaum, said in a statement.
Pro-union Amazon employees told Insider about the various tactics Amazon deployed to convince its employees to vote no, including mandatory anti-union meetings, sending employees texts, and putting up anti-union signs in the bathrooms.
Specifically, the RWDSU also filed an objection over a mailbox that appeared outside the warehouse, in which Amazon encouraged employees to cast their ballots. The Washington Post discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request that Amazon pushed the US Postal Service to install the mailbox. This came after the NLRB rejected a bid from the company to make in-person voting inside the warehouse mandatory. Amazon did not address the mailbox in its statement.
In its statement, Amazon also took the opportunity to lobby for a national minimum wage of $15.
“We welcome the opportunity to sit down and share ideas with any policymaker who wants to pass laws ensuring that all workers in the U.S. are guaranteed at least $15 an hour, health care from day one, and other strong benefits,” its statement reads.
Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour in November 2018 after sustained political pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders. Labor experts told Insider’s Kate Taylor that Amazon’s lobbying for a national minimum wage is a clever strategic move, allowing the company to boost its reputation and potentially harm rivals like Walmart without shelling out any extra cash.
Read Amazon’s full response here:
Thank you to employees at our BHM1 fulfillment center in Alabama for participating in the election. There’s been a lot of noise over the past few months, and we’re glad that your collective voices were finally heard. In the end, less than 16% of the employees at BHM1 voted to join the RWDSU union.
It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true. Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us. And Amazon didn’t win – our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union. Our employees 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 offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace. We’re not perfect, but we’re proud of our team and what we offer, and will keep working to get better every day.
We hope that with this election now over, there’s an opportunity to move from talk to action across the country. While our team is more than a million people around the world and we’ve created 500,000 new jobs since COVID-19 began, we’re still a tiny fraction of the workforce. There are 40 million Americans who make less than the starting wage at Amazon, and many more who don’t get health care through their employers, and we think that should be fixed. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and share ideas with any policymaker who wants to pass laws ensuring that all workers in the U.S. are guaranteed at least $15 an hour, health care from day one, and other strong benefits. Our employees have seen tremendous benefit from what we offer and we think every American family deserves the same. We believe that we can work better together instead of against each other to pass those important laws, and we hope that’s what will happen in the months and years ahead.
In the meantime, for anyone who’s interested in meeting some members of our team and seeing what it’s like to work inside one of our buildings, we encourage you to sign up for a tour at www.amazonfctours.com. It’s an incredible operation, supported by a world-class team, and we’d love for you to see for yourself.