Complaint alleges Amazon interfered in Alabama warehouse unionization vote

Ursula Perano
·1 min read

A complaint by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) alleges that Amazon illegally interfered in the union election at its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, CNBC reports.

The big picture: The RWDSU alleged in its complaint to the National Labor Relations Board that Amazon threatened layoffs, loss of pay or benefits, or a facility closure if workers voted in favor of the effort which flopped earlier this month.

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  • Only 30% of workers at the warehouse voted for unionization during the more-than-month-long ballot.

State of play: RWDSU outlined 23 objections in its filing. Among them were claims that Amazon removed employees who asked questions at meetings, fired an employee for passing out union authorization cards and disciplined someone for being outspoken in their support for the union.

  • The actions had a "chilling effect on support for the union," RWDSU said, per CNBC.

  • The other side: "The fact is that less than 16% of employees at BHM1 voted to join a union. Rather than accepting these employees’ choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda. We look forward to the next steps in the legal process," Amazon said in a statement.

Why it matters: Unionization efforts within Amazon could be a bellwether for the retail and warehouse industry. While RWDSU has unionized some European Amazon facilities, no U.S. Amazon facilities have unionized yet.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Amazon.

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