Earlier this year, employees at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer overwhelmingly rejected an out-of-state effort to unionize their workplace.
Prominent far-left figures on the national stage, including President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and failed Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams all injected themselves into the unsuccessful effort.
In an April vote, Alabamians handed them and New York-based Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) a resounding defeat as roughly 71% of workers declined to unionize. Shortly thereafter, the union appealed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) claiming that Amazon had corrupted the election process by accusing the retail giant of employing anti-union practices, resulting in a tainted vote.
In August, NLRB hearing officer Kerstin Meyer agreed with the union and recommended that the agency void the election results and force Amazon to hold a second vote.
Meyer stated that Amazon had caused the U.S. Postal Service to “install a generic unlabeled box less than 50 feet from the main entry to its facility, at a location suggested by the employer and immediately beneath the visible surveillance cameras.”
She concluded, “Notwithstanding the union’s substantial margin of defeat, the employer’s unilateral decision to create, for all intents and purposes, an onsite collection box for NLRB ballots destroyed the laboratory conditions and justifies a second election.”
After a months long legal battle, RWDSU on Monday confirmed that the NLRB had accepted Meyer’s recommendation to invalidate the election.
According to CNBC, NLRB Region 10 director Lisa Henderson issued a statement outlining directions for Amazon to hold a revote.
“I agree with the hearing officer’s recommendations. Accordingly, I affirm the hearing officer’s rulings, I adopt her recommendation to sustain certain objections, and I order a second election,” stated Henderson.
RWDSU president Stuart Applebaum praised the order and asserted that the only avenue workers have to voice workplace-related concerns is through forming a union.
“Today’s decision confirms what we were 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 – and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal. Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union,” proclaimed Applebaum.
In a statement to CNBC, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel called the decision “disappointing” and cited employees’ resounding objection to RWDSU’s efforts to force unionization upon them.
“Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU earlier this year,” advised Nantel. “It’s disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count.”
The NLRB has yet to announce a formal date for Amazon to hold a second election.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL