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US Retail Unions accuse Amazon of meddling in Alabama vote | Labor Rights News

The union push in Bessemer, Alabama in the US is the largest in Amazon’s 26-year history and only the second time a person has reached a vote.

The US Retail Alliance was unsuccessful Amazon worker organization at a warehouse in Alabama want the results of a recent vote to be removed, saying that the company has illegally intervened in the process.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Alliance (RWDSU) said in a filing that Amazon threatened employees to get fired and even shut down warehouses if they were linked. It also said Amazon fired a union support employee but declined to name this person.

Many other RWDSU accusations revolve around a mailbox that Amazon installed in the parking lot of the Bessemer warehouse. It says the mailbox has created a fake look that Amazon is conducting elections, threatening workers to vote against unions. According to RWDSU, security cameras in the parking lot can record workers walking to the mailboxes, giving the feeling that workers are being monitored by the company and that their votes are not private, according to RWDSU.

Amazon spokesperson Heather Knox said the company did not threaten layoffs and she couldn’t verify if an employee was fired without a name. She says the mailbox is set up to make it easier for staff to vote and that only the US Post has access.

“Instead of accepting the choices of these employees, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting to advance its own agenda,” Knox said in a statement. “We look forward to the next steps in the legal process.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos admitted in a shareholder letter that the company could do better for its employees and said that he was uncomfortable with the results of the Bessemer union election. , Alabama, USA. [File: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg]

The workers were overwhelming vote against union formation, with 1,798 rejecting it and 738 voting in favor of it. A total of 3,117 votes were cast, representing about 53% of the nearly 6,000 workers in the warehouse.

RWDSU filed an objection to the National Industrial Relations Commission late on Friday but made it publicly available on Monday. In doing so, the union is asking the labor council to investigate the allegations, schedule a hearing, and decide to hold a second election or overturn the results.

Alex Colvin, head of the Department of Industrial and Industrial Relations at Cornell University, says cases like these can take a year or more to resolve. Even if the union wins, the penalties for the employer are weak – such as being forced to post notices saying the employee has the right to unionize.

He said the labor council could hold another election, but in high-paying workplaces like Amazon, the employees may not be around. It is very rare to reverse results, Colvin says.

The coalition boost at Bessemer is the largest in Amazon’s 26-year history and only the second time a single person has reached a vote.

Workers joined the union last summer, tired of working 10 hours a day on their feet, packing boxes or storing products without enough time to take a break. Mail voting begins in early February and takes about 50 days. The organizers promise that a union will lead to better working conditions, higher pay and more respect.

Meanwhile, Amazon argues that it has set the minimum wage more than twice as high in Alabama and provides workers with health care, vision benefits, and dental insurance they don’t have to pay. Union dues.

Last week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos admitted in a shareholder letter that The company can do better for its workers and said that he was uncomfortable with the outcome of the union election in Bessemer. He vowed to make Amazon a safer place to work by reducing sprains, muscle strains and other injuries in the warehouse.

“I think we need to do better for our employees,” said Bezos.



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