The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Amazon to allow workers in the Bessemer, Alabama facility to participate in a second election to decide whether to unionize, after union organizers challenged a sweeping Amazon victory in the first vote earlier this year.
NLRB Region 10 Director Lisa Henderson ordered that a second election be conducted, NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado confirmed. No date has been set for the new election and the NLRB has not yet determined whether it will be conducted in person or by mail-in vote.
The first election was rife with allegations of the company trying to coerce warehouse workers to vote against the effort to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. That election, a mail-in vote that ran over the course of several weeks, ended in April.
Immediately after the Amazon victory was announced, the RWDSU said it would file 23 charges of election interference against Amazon, including several charges related to Amazon having a post office box for the ballots installed directly in front of the facility, in violation of the NLRB's orders for the election. During the union's campaign, Amazon also posted anti-union flyers in bathrooms, held small meetings with workers, and created an anti-union website that gained widespread internet ridicule for its use of stock photos and pro-Amazon quotes.
After the union election ended in favor of Amazon, the company said that the vote expressed its employees' disinterest in the effort. "It's easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that's not true," an Amazon spokesperson said at the time.
No effort to unionize any Amazon workers has yet been successful, though since the start of the RWDSU's push in Alabama, two other major union organizing efforts have emerged at other facilities. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union has committed to organizing delivery drivers and truckers as a nationwide priority, and an unaffiliated union effort in Staten Island has fought for enough employee signatures to request an NLRB election at the facilities there.
"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," Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told Protocol. "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."