Amazon.com Inc easily defeated a historic union drive earlier this year at a facility in Bessemer, Alabama. But, with another election on the horizon, the online store is taking no chances.
Amazon has stepped up its campaign at the warehouse in recent weeks. It is pushing thousands of employees to attend seminars. Moreover, the company is placing banners critical of labor groups in restrooms, and flying in staff from the West Coast. It shows that Amazon is adhering to its aggressive strategy. In August, a hearing officer for the United States National Labor Relations Board ruled that the company’s actions surrounding the prior vote interfered with the Bessemer union election. A decision by an NLRB regional director on whether to order a new voice expect soon. Amazon has denied any misconduct and stated that it wishes for employees’ perspectives to hear.
Nonetheless, the previously unknown attempts to prevent unionization ahead of any second election indicate how Amazon is battling representation at its U.S. labor sites. Since employees rejected joining the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union in April, an increase in labor activity, including organizing drives in New York and Canada, has prompted Amazon to respond.
Other well-known unions, such as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, have also pledged to organize Amazon. The fear is that associations will change how Amazon manages its large, highly tuned operation, driving up expenses when a labor scarcity reduces profits.
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel stated in a statement that a union “would affect everyone at the location. As a result, all employees must comprehend what this implies and their day-to-day lives at Amazon.
Union supporters push back
According to worker testimonies, several employees have disputed Amazon’s assertions and erected their pro-union banners in warehouse restrooms.
Meanwhile, the RWDSU has flown personnel to Bessemer, sponsored nightly discussions at a burger establishment, and increased door-knocking. According to John Logan, a San Francisco State University professor, home visits are essential for organizing drives because unions are not guaranteed worksite access under U.S. law. Amazon has committed a week of required sessions in the new campaign. It wants to warn employees that unions will compel them to strike and forego compensation. This is a nod to the recent stoppages rattling workplaces throughout the country.
The RWDSU’s president, Stuart Appelbaum, stated that the union has heard from employees who have changed their vote to join. He believes that door-knocking provides the league a new edge. Amazon pushed workers to “FOLLOW THE MONEY” on a table-top placard at the warehouse. They say the RWDSU granted Appelbaum a “$30,000 raise paid for by union dues” and spent over $100,000 on automobiles for its executives last year.