The result of the vote on the formation of the first American trade union at Amazon may be declared invalid. The e-commerce giant allegedly pressured its employees to vote against it.
In April, warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, were given the opportunity to vote on the formation of the first-ever Amazon employee union in the United States. The issue received a significant amount of press attention worldwide. In the end, a large majority voted against the creation of a union.
According to Charged Retail, which bases itself on reports by The Washington Post, the election may still be hanging in the balance. A government official from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an agency that watches over the correct application of labour law, has indicated that Amazon put heavy pressure on its employees to vote against the establishment of a union. The result of the vote should therefore be revoked.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union (RWDSU) never acquiesced in the result of the vote and accused Amazon of intimidation and anti-union propaganda. The union also collected evidence, which was submitted to the NLRB.
The NLRB official in charge has now made an official recommendation to the NLRB regional director in Atlanta. The latter will decide whether the result should be annulled and a new vote taken. "Amazon cheated, they got caught, and they are being held accountable", said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. "We support the hearing officer’s recommendation that the NLRB set aside the election results and direct a new election."
Amazon currently employs nearly a million people in the United States (not counting independent contractors such as truck drivers). Worldwide, the e-commerce company employs a staggering 1.3 million people. It is the second-largest employer in the US, after Walmart which currently has almost 1.6 million employees.