The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, just ruled that a historic union vote among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama was not valid.
The highly publicized vote resulted in a resounding defeat for the union in March 2021, with more than 70 percent of those voting choosing against union membership. The union accused Amazon of engaging in “efforts to gaslight its own employees” and filed a petition in April to nullify the vote.
After investigating, the NLRB agreed. Federal officials decided that Amazon interfered so blatantly in its workers’ ability to vote that a second election is now in order.
The ruling detailed how Amazon defied NLRB guidance and set up a vote collection box right outside the warehouse entrance, giving workers the impression that it was involved in the vote counting.
The company also distributed “vote no” paraphernalia to workers in the presence of managers and held what the NLRB called “captive audience meetings” with small groups of workers — “six days a week, 18 hours a day” — and blasted them with anti-union messaging.
The company “essentially hijacked the process and gave a strong impression that it controlled the process,” concluded NLRB regional director Lisa Henderson. In a separate decision, the NLRB also determined that Amazon illegally fired two employees last year who were agitating against unfair labor practices.
It’s no wonder that the election turnout was low.
Yet Amazon has already begun paving the way for more interference. According to Reuters, it’s again “forcing thousands of employees to attend meetings” and “posting signs critical of labor groups in bathrooms.”
This aggressive pushback against a unionizing effort at a single warehouse indicates Amazon’s absolute determination to deny workers a say in their labor conditions.
And it’s no mystery why.