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Union objects to Amazon election and accuses the company of threatening layoffs ahead of the vote. Amazon says it followed all laws.

Amazon Bessemer warehouse
Amazon's warehouse in Bessemer.
  • The union that Amazon workers voted against joining in Bessemer, AL, filed objections against Amazon.
  • The union vote in Bessemer failed to pass, with over 70% of valid ballots voting against unionizing.
  • Amazon said the union is "misrepresenting the facts."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

After Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama voted against forming a union, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union has filed 23 objections to Amazon's conduct during the voting period.

The union said the objections merit an investigation and it is seeking to toss out the result of the union vote. Amazon has said it followed all laws in its communication with workers on the union effort.

The RWDSU is the union that would have represented Amazon workers if the vote had passed. At the close of the vote count on April 9, the valid votes were overwhelmingly against joining the union, with 70.9% voting no. The final vote count was 1,798 votes against forming a union and 738 votes for forming a union, with 505 challenged ballots and 76 voided ballots.

In its filing to the National Labor Relations Board, the RWDSU accused Amazon of threatening to close its facility or lay off workers if they voted to form a union. The RWDSU also accused Amazon of intimidating workers and alleged that Amazon "terminated a Union supporter for passing out union authorization cards in non-working areas."

Amazon said the RWDSU is "misrepresenting the facts."

"The fact is that less than 16% of employees at BHM1 voted to join a union," an Amazon spokesperson told Insider in a statement. "Rather than accepting these employees' choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda. We look forward to the next steps in the legal process."

In filing the objections, the RWDSU is asking the NLRB to schedule a hearing to determine if Amazon "created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion, and/or fear of reprisals."

The next step in the objection procedure is for the NLRB to review the objections. If the objections are found to be credible, the NLRB will issue a formal complaint. The objections would then be examined at a hearing, unless Amazon and the RWDSU were to reach a settlement.

It is common for unions to file similar objections in the wake of failed union elections. In fact, such charges are filed in 41.5% of all union election campaigns, according to the Economic Policy Institute. EPI did not track how many of these charges that the National Labor Relations Board ultimately found to be merited, resulting in further investigation.

Amazon previously told Insider in a statement that "it's easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that's not true." The company stressed that "employees made the choice to vote against joining a union."

In his final letter to shareholders as CEO, Jeff Bezos addressed the Bessemer vote, saying he didn't "take comfort" in the outcome.

"I think we need to do a better job for our employees," he said. "While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it's clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees - a vision for their success."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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