The National Labor Relations Commission said Thursday that union supporters were slightly chasing opponents in a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama. But that number was much closer than last year’s vote in the same warehouse, where workers rejected unions at a ratio of 2: 1 or more.
The union had 875 votes in favor and 993 votes against, but more than 400 ballots are sufficient to affect the results. The issue will be resolved in the Labor Relations Commission hearings in the coming weeks.
Overall, the elections in Bessemer, Alabama received approximately 2,300 votes from more than 6,100 eligible employees.
The Labor Relations Commission mandated a vote by mail from early February to late March after concluding that Amazon violated so-called laboratory conditions that would win during union elections.
Regardless of the end result, the workers here showed what was possible, said Stuart Aperbaum, chairman of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union, who tried to organize the workers. They helped ignite the movement.
In a video conference with reporters after counting votes, Apelbaum said the organization at Bessemer sparked union campaigns at other companies such as REI and Starbucks and in other parts of the country. rice field.
Amazon did not respond to the request for comment.
The Labor Relations Commission is also counting votes in another high-profile election at Staten Island’s Amazon warehouse. At the end of the first day counting on Thursday, 57% of the ballots supported being represented by the Amazon Labor Union, and 43% disagreed. NLRB said the count should end on Friday.
Workers who supported the Bessemer union complained of low wages, inadequate breaks, and overly aggressive productivity goals. Amazon states that full-time entry-level workers pay just under $ 16 an hour and are competitive in the region. He also points out benefits that he describes as attractive, including full medical benefits immediately after a full-time employee joins the company. The company states that its performance goals reflect safety considerations and the experience of individual employees.
Some employees who supported the union said their colleagues were generally less afraid to ask management questions or show support for the union this year than during last year’s elections. Employee Jennifer Bates, who led the organization efforts both last year and this year, said in an interview this month that people are asking more questions. More employees are standing up and speaking.
The union also cited important differences in its approach to recent elections. Last year, the union reduced face-to-face organizing efforts due to Covid-19 safety concerns, but this time the organizers visited workers at home. Other unions have sent organizers to Alabama to support these efforts.
Workers also appeared to be more active in organizing within the factory. They wore union T-shirts to work twice a week to show support, and one group delivered a petition to the manager with over 100 signatures complaining of inadequate breaks and break room facilities. I did.
Still, Amazon retains its benefits, especially due to the high employee turnover rate, which made it difficult for organizers to maintain momentum, as dissatisfied workers simply quit their jobs.
The company is also willing to discourage employees from supporting the union, hire consultants and hold more than 20 anti-union meetings a day with employees before the ballots are issued in early February. Seems to have spent. In a Labor Ministry filing released Thursday, Amazon revealed that it spent more than $ 4 million on labor consultants last year. It has not yet been revealed how much he spent on consultants this year.
Union supporters accused Amazon of excluding Amazon from the meeting to ease criticism and opposition, but Amazon denied the accusation.
The aggregate released Thursday is in line with the broader trend in rerun elections, with unions losing more than half since 2010.
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