Amazon on Friday secured enough votes to defeat the unionization drive at one of its Alabama warehouses, delivering a blow to organized labor who hoped to unionize a U.S. Amazon facility for the first time.
Of the 3,215 ballots cast, there were 1,798 votes opposing the union and 738 votes in favor. Approximately 5,800 workers at the Bessemer warehouse were eligible to vote whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
In order to defeat the union, Amazon needed to garner 1,608 votes, or a little more than 50% of ballots cast.
The RWDSU said it plans to challenge the election results. The union said it intends to file objections over Amazon’s election conduct with the NLRB, as well as a number of unfair labor practice charges, alleging that “Amazon interfered with the rights of its Bessemer, Alabama employees to vote in a free and fair election.”
The unionization effort in Alabama transformed into a protracted labor battle at Amazon, with the company hiring the same law firm it used to assist with negotiations during a failed union drive in Delaware in 2014. Amazon also made its position on the union campaign clear to workers at the Bessemer facility, by holding mandatory meetings, setting up a website urging workers to “do it without dues” and distributing pamphlets instructing workers to “Vote NO” on the historic election.
In a statement, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said Amazon “left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees.”
“We won’t let Amazon’s lies, deception and illegal activities go unchallenged, which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by Amazon during the union vote,” Appelbaum said. “We demand a comprehensive investigation over Amazon’s behavior in corrupting this election.”
Representatives from Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Both RWDSU and Amazon are slated to hold press conferences following the election result.
The challenges are likely to kick off a protracted legal fight surrounding whether Amazon engaged in anti-union conduct that prevented the possibility of a fair election. The RWDSU said it’s prepared to submit evidence to the NLRB in support of a complaints that Amazon violated labor laws.
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