Labor board orders a do-over in Amazon warehouse union election

Enlarge / An Amazon warehouse in Germany on April 2, 2020. (credit: Patrick Pleul | picture alliance | Getty Images)

A regional official at the National Labor Relations Board has called for a new union election at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, fulfillment center following recommendations issued in August by a hearing officer. The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which seeks to represent workers in the Bessemer warehouse, filed 23 objections disputing the fairness of the election shortly after votes were tallied back in April. 

No date has been set for the new election, and Amazon could still appeal the decision to the full National Labor Relations Board.

The decision to call a new election hinges primarily on a mailbox that Amazon installed in the warehouse’s parking lot to collect ballots. According to the NLRB’s report (PDF), the mailbox was installed without the approval of the NRLB, creating the impression that the box was being surveilled and that Amazon, not the NLRB, was conducting the election. Amazon also installed a tent over the mailbox with Amazon’s anti-union campaign messaging “printed on at least one side,” and the company conducted “mandatory small group meetings” where it provided anti-union campaign materials to employees.

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