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Report: Vote of Bessemer Amazon workers to forgo unionization could be nullified

An official with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recommended that an April vote of workers at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer declining to unionize should be considered null.

According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the union which attempted to organize the fulfillment center says the recommendation by NLRB official Kerstin Meyer was made on the grounds that Amazon employed anti-union tactics during the election process which acted in defiance of existing labor law.

Meyer cited Amazon’s causing of 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” as the core reason the vote should not be upheld.

The NLRB official 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.”

The New York-based union, RWDSU, was handed a resounding defeat earlier this year at the hands of the Bessemer workers whom it was campaigning to force unionization upon. Upon losing the campaign, the union claimed the voting process had not been conducted in a manner consistent with free and fair elections. Shortly thereafter, RWDSU petitioned the NLRB to void the election results as it claimed the process had been corrupted.

Bessemer became the center of attention during the unionization push for far-left figures on the national stage as they attempted to inject themselves into the campaign. Progressive leaders such as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), failed Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, as well as actor Danny Glover, told Alabamians unionizing was in their best interest. The out-of-state lobbying effort failed as roughly 71% of workers rejected their pleas.

Concerning the renewed effort for a revote, WSJ reported that RWDSU president Stuart Applebaum accused Amazon of cheating.

“The question of whether or not to have a union is supposed to be the workers’ decision and not the employer’s,” WSJ quoted Applebaum as saying. “Amazon cheated, they got caught and they are being held accountable.”

A spokeswoman for Amazon said the Bessemer workers “had a chance to be heard during a noisy time when all types of voices were weighing into the national debate, and at the end of the day, they voted overwhelmingly in favor of a direct connection with their managers and the company,” reports WSJ.

According to WSJ, the NLRB director charged with overseeing the matter will review the recommendation and could make a determination in a matter of weeks as to whether or not a revote should be held. If the case’s findings are deemed valid, the retail giant plans to appeal the recommendation for a revote.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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