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National Labor Relations Board directs new election at Amazon in Bessemer

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 2:42 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2021 at 2:52 PM CST
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BESSEMER, Ala. (WBRC) - The Director of Region 10 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) formally issued a Decision and Direction of a Second Election for workers at Amazon in Bessemer.

NLRB said the decision grants a new election based on the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s (RWDSU) objections to Amazon’s conduct during the union election conducted in the Spring of 2021.

Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) issued the following immediate reaction:

“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal. Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union.”

The RWDSU charged Amazon with illegal misconduct during the union vote in Bessemer. The RWDSU said in August, the Hearing Officer who presided over the case determined that Amazon violated labor law; and recommended that the Regional Director set aside the results of the election and direct a second election.

We spoke with Black Lives Matter Birmingham that’s been standing side by side with workers about Monday’s decision to re-vote.

“Amazon workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect especially the 85% Black and brown workers that go to the fulfillment center daily to work but who’s work is grossly undervalued,” Eric Hall with BLM Birmingham said.

The date and method of the new election are yet to be determined.

Amazon spokesperson, Kelly Nantel, released this statement:

“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. 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. Every day we empower people to find ways to improve their jobs, and when they do that we want to make those changes—quickly. That type of continuous improvement is harder to do quickly and nimbly with unions in the middle. The benefits of direct relationships between managers and employees can’t be overstated—these relationships allow every employee’s voice to be heard, not just the voices of a select few. While we’ve made great progress in important areas like pay and safety, we know there are plenty of things that we can keep doing better, both in our fulfillment centers and in our corporate offices, and that’s our focus—to work directly with our employees to keep getting better every day.”

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