Union says feds have ordered new election at Amazon warehouse in Bessemer

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FILE – In this March 30, 2021 file photo, a banner encouraging workers to vote in labor balloting is shown at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. The union that tried, and failed, to organize Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, says it may get a do-over. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Monday, Aug. 2 said that a hearing officer for the National Labor Relations Board has recommended that the vote by workers in April to overwhelmingly reject the union be set aside and that another vote be held in its place. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)

BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — Union officials said Monday that the National Labor Relations Board has issued an order granting Bessemer Amazon workers a new election.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said that the decision substantiates RWDSU’s claims that the first vote on unionizing the Amazon warehouse was tainted by what the union called “illegal misconduct” that interfered with the election.

“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,” Appelbaum said in a statement. “Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union.”

An April vote resulted in workers rejecting unionization, with 1,798 rejecting it and 738 voting in favor. A total of 3,117 workers voted, a slim majority of the approximately 6,000 workers at the warehouse.

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, called the NLRB’s decision “disappointing.”

“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,” the statement said. “It’s disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count. As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees.”

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