The National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday ordered a second union vote at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, AL that’s in the eye of a major labor battle, with the vote to begin by mail-in ballot on Feb. 4 and continue through March 28.
This time, Amazon has agreed to not pursue reprisal actions against employees for union organizing activities, as part of a late December agreement with the NLRB.
Earlier that month, the NLRB ordered a new union election at the Bessemer facility, stating that Amazon improperly interfered with the first election, held in April, 2021. The body seeking to represent workers there is the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
At issue was a special temporary ballot mailbox installed outside the facility, at the behest of Amazon consumer business CEO Dave Clark. Amazon said its intent was to make voting easier for workers, while the union and the NLRB contended workers would be intimidated and fear surveillance of the mailbox.
In the April 2020 election, less than 30% of the eligible workers voted for the union, handing the company a major victory against organized labor. Those voting no on union representation cited concerns about job security, union dues and the two-year-old facility being shut down by Amazon if it became a union shop.
That same month, the NLRB accused Amazon of illegally firing two tech workers who spoke out publicly about its treatment of fulfillment workers and its sustainability policies, and upheld a complaint by a worker who led a Queens, NY walkout that year.
This past November, workers at an Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island, NY withdrew their petition to form a union, two weeks before a meeting with the NLRB to determine if sufficient interest existed to proceed with unionization, the labor board told the Associated Press.