Amazon workers at a facility in Bessemer, Alabama, will vote by mail next month to decide whether to unionize, a federal labor board said.
The National Labor Relations Board said on Tuesday that ballots would be mailed on February 4 and should be returned before counting begins on March 28.
The move was a blow to Amazon.com Inc., which spent nearly a year campaigning aggressively for warehouse workers in Bessemer to reject the union, which they eventually did by a wide margin.
In a 20-page decision, NLRB regional director Lisa Henderson focused more on the installation of Amazon’s US Postal Service mailboxes at the key employee entrance, which could have led to the misconception that the company itself was handling the election process. Was being , Henderson also rejected Amazon’s argument that it was simplifying voting and trying to encourage as many voting as possible.
“Our employees always have the option of whether or not to join a union, and they decided not to join RWDSU last year,” Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agrit said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “His voice was heard again” in Bessemer.
Meanwhile, the RWDSU made an issue of NLRB’s decision to hold elections by mail.
“We are deeply concerned that the decision fails to deter Amazon from continuing its offensive behavior in a new election,” the union said in a statement. The union has been pushing for individual elections, which it feels can make the process fair to the workers.
RWDSUs are facing an uphill battle given the so-high layoff rates for employees, but Amazon last month struck a deal with the NLRB to allow its employees to organize freely — and without retaliation. .
As per the agreement, the online behemoth said it would reach out to its warehouse employees – former and current – via email who were on the job any time since March 22 of last year, to inform them of their organizing rights. .
The agreement outlined that Amazon employees, which number 750,000 in the US, have more room to organize within buildings. For example, Amazon pledged that it would not threaten employees with discipline or call the police when they engage in union activity in outside non-work areas during non-working hours.
Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio