A U.S. labor official ordered the vote to be re-consolidated at an Amazon distribution center in Alabama, saying the e-commerce giant misappropriated the process.
Amazon won a closely watched vote in April with 1,798 votes to 738. But the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union (RWDSU) immediately filed a complaint alleging the company illegally engaged in voting misconduct.
This was the first union vote held at one of the company’s facilities in the US, and attract international attention.
A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board announced Monday that a second election should be held, although no timeline has been set for the election to take place. out.
Amazon has the option to request a review of the decision with the NLRB in Washington. It may also require a stay to prevent the vote from continuing while the merits of the regional decision are reviewed by the national council.
The company would not say on Monday if it plans to pursue either option, but said it was not satisfied with the decision.
“Our employees always have the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they fully decided not to join RWDSU earlier this year,” said Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel.
“It is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes do not count. As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees.”
Nantel said Amazon has worked to raise wages and improve safety, moves she said would be “harder to do quickly and nimbly with unions in between”.
The first election was conducted by mail over concerns about the spread of Covid-19, despite Amazon’s attempt to force a direct ballot.
Monday’s ruling follows referral from a hearing officer in August, who suggested Amazon prevent a “fair election” by using union sabotage techniques.
Her report details how the company organizes “detainees encounters” with employees in small groups, records their attendance, and encourages workers to receive the “vote” badge. no” and other items.
In particular, the hearing officer said that the installation of a special mailbox to collect votes created the feeling that workers were being monitored by the company through security cameras.
The district official also concurred, saying: “By installing a post office box at the main employee entrance, the employer has essentially hijacked the process and impressed strong that they have control over the process.
“This dangerous and improper message to employees undermines confidence in board processes and the reliability of election results.”
It said arrest meetings could constitute a probe of unsuitable employees, who “could reasonably be aware that an employer was trying to distinguish them for or against.” union based on whether or not they picked up items.”
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said the decision substantiated their allegations that Amazon’s actions were “unacceptable and illegal”.
“Today’s decision confirms what we’ve been told – that Amazon’s intimidation and interference has prevented workers from having a fair voice about whether they want a union in their workplace,” he said. them or not,” he said.
“Amazon workers deserve a voice in the workplace, which can only come from unions.”