SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Officials said Tuesday that labour organisers and e-commerce giant Amazon are planning a rematch vote next month on whether workers at an Alabama warehouse will form a union.
Last year, a closely watched ballot on forming the first Amazon union in the United States ended in a crushing defeat for organisers, who accused Amazon of breaking the rules and were granted a re-do on appeal.
The National Labor Relations Board announced on Tuesday that ballots will be mailed out on February 4, with voting scheduled for March 28.
According to the notice, the results of last year’s election were set aside because the NLRB found Amazon “interfered” with the election by installing a mailbox outside the warehouse’s main entrance and polling workers during mandatory meetings.
“Workers’ voices can and must be heard fairly, free of Amazon’s limitless power to control what must be a fair and free election,” the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said in a statement supporting the organising effort.
The vote in the small Alabama town of Bessemer drew widespread media attention because it pitted employees’ supporters – artists, Democratic and Republican lawmakers, and even President Joe Biden – against tech behemoth Amazon.
“Our employees have always had the option of joining a union or not, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU last year,” Amazon senior public relations manager Barbara Agrait told AFP in response to an AFP inquiry.
“We are excited for our team in (Bessemer) to have their voices heard again.”
Amazon is currently dealing with a group of workers in a New York warehouse who want to form a union as well.