Amazon loses effort to halt Alabama union drive, voting begins subsequent week

Peter Endig | AFP | Getty Images

Amazon lost its urge to postpone a closely watched union vote at its warehouse in Bessemer, Ala.

Last month, Amazon appealed the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to send around 6,000 warehouse workers to vote by mail to join the retail, wholesale and department stores union. In his appeal, Amazon called on the NLRB to review aspects of their previous decision and pushed for a personal choice, citing errors in the agency’s definition of a coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, the NLRB denied Amazon’s appeal, saying it had “raised no material issues warranting a review”.

“The employer’s request to keep the upcoming election review is also rejected as in dispute,” a file said.

With the NLRB rejecting Amazon’s appeal, Amazon employees at the Alabama warehouse will be able to vote by mail as planned starting next week. Workers will cast their ballots from February 8th. Ballot papers must be received by the NLRB regional office by March 29th. The following day, the board begins counting the ballot papers from 10 a.m. CT. It is the first major union work within Amazon since 2014.

In a statement, RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum heralded the NLRB’s decision as a victory in the Amazon workers’ struggle for the organization and criticized Amazon’s urge to hold a personal election as a threat to their health and safety amid the pandemic.

“Once again, Amazon workers have won another battle to win a union vote,” Applebaum said in a statement. “Today’s decision shows that it has been a long time since Amazon respected its own employees and allowed them to cast their votes without intimidation or interference.”

Amazon officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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