Amazon workers in Alabama to vote on union by mail starting in February

Amazon workers in Alabama to vote on union by mail starting in February

1/17/2021 2:33:00 AM

Amazon workers in Alabama to vote on union by mail starting in February

Amazon workers at a warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., will start voting by mail in February on whether to form a union.

Amazon.com Inc. workers at an Alabama warehouse will vote by mail in February and March on whether to form a union, the National Labor Relations Board said, setting a date for a closely watched referendum on the relationship between the largest online retailer and the employees who pack and ship its products.

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A group of about 6,000 front-line employees at the fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., will decide whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the NLRB said Friday. Typically, such votes are held in person or at a location close to the workplace. Elections since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been conducted by mail.

Ballots will be mailed to eligible workers at the Bessemer facility on Feb. 8, and must be received by the NLRB’s regional office by March 29, the agency said in its decision.Amazon, the second-largest U.S. employer, behind Walmart Inc., has largely avoided unions in its ranks, though some of its workers in Europe are members of labor groups. The vote is Amazon’s first in the U.S. since 2014, when a small group of technicians at a Delaware warehouse headtopics.com

joining the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.AdvertisementAmazon said it disagreed with the NLRB’s decision. “We believe that the best approach to a valid, fair and successful election is one that is conducted manually, in-person,” spokesperson Heather Knox said in an email. “We will continue to insist on measures for a fair election, and we want everyone to vote, so our focus is ensuring that’s possible.”

Amazon had argued in hearings in December that despite the pandemic’s uncontrolled surge in Alabama, the vote should be held in person.“Given the prevalence of asymptomatic transmission and the presence of Covid-19 both inside and outside the employer’s facility, the overall state of crisis in Jefferson County cannot be ignored,” the NLRB’s acting regional director wrote in Friday’s decision.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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