The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ordered that workers at Amazon.com Inc.’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama be granted a second vote at union representation, according to the union that tried unsuccessfully to organize the workers in April.
In a statement on Monday, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) disclosed that an NLRB regional director formally directed a new election at Amazon’s Bessemer facility. The union, which is a party to the case, did not share a copy of the ruling, saying it could only be released by the NLRB under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. NLRB spokespeople did not respond to a request for more information.
In April, workers in Bessemer rejected representation by a 2-to-1 margin. RWDSU argued that Amazon illegally intimidated and coerced workers to either not vote or to cast ballots against representation. In August, an NLRB hearing officer ruled that Amazon had violated labor law and advised that the regional director set aside the original results and order a second election be held, the union said.
The date and method of the new election are yet to be determined. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The union drive in Bessemer was the most serious organizing effort of Amazon in the company’s 27-year history. It appeared at the time that workers were swayed against representation because of the company’s relatively generous pay scale — more than twice the federal minimum wage — benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Amazon bet that workers at the warehouse would see no need for a third-party bargaining unit to effect change that the company thought was unnecessary.
Since the vote, the Teamsters union, which has 1.4 million members compared with RWDSU’s 100,000 and has the deeper pockets of the two, voted to establish a division dedicated to organizing Amazon’s workers. Warehouse workers are company employees. Amazon’s drivers are contractors.