Amazon wins vote preventing Alabama warehouse workers from unionising

Amazon workers have voted not to unionise at one of the company’s warehouses in Alabama in a major victory for the company.

The majority of the 3,215 votes cast from roughly 5,800 workers in Bessemer, Alabama, were against unionising, according to a preliminary count by the US National Labor Relations Board.

Defeating the move to unionise will be seen as a great success for Amazon, which has reportedly spent millions to monitor and tackle union activities among its workforce, including hiring intelligence analysts to track staff suspected of organising.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, file photo, Michael Foster of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union holds a sign outside an Amazon facility where labor is trying to organize workers in Bessemer, Ala. Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, have voted on whether or not to form a union. But the process to tally all the ballots and determine an outcome will continue for a second week, according to the National Labor Relations Board, a government agency that’s co
Image:The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is bringing a complaint against the company. Pic: AP

The Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) has complained that the company’s conduct has systematically attempted to derail attempts to organise workers in Bessemer and in other locations across the country.

Although the RWDSU is arguing with Amazon over the eligibility of roughly 500 ballots, the number is too small to shift the vote – which is decided by a simple majority.

While the e-commerce giant said it supports the rights of its workers to vote to unionise, it has consistently opposed the effort through meetings for staff and marketing campaigns.

Among the company’s actions were moves seeking to delay the vote, as well as forcing workers to participate in meetings in which unionising was criticised – often using what RWDSU alleged were false claims to scare staff.

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Amazon is the second-largest private employer in America and has been a target for unionisation by the US labour movement, which has seen increasing declines in membership.

Just 11% of eligible workers were part of a union in 2020.

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It follows the company apologising for sending a tweet denying its delivery drivers are forced to urinate in bottles due to their gruelling schedules.

It admitted that some drivers had done this and vowed to improve working conditions.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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