Tech

Alabama-based Amazon fulfillment center workers decisively vote against unionization

In brief: Amazon has been criticized for treating its workers poorly in the past, with said critics citing the company’s hyper-focus on productivity and efficiency as the primary reason. To improve the tech giant’s working conditions, employees of its BHM1 fulfillment center in Alabama attempted to unionize — unfortunately, the initiative failed to rally enough votes to pass.

Of the 3,000 employees who participated in the vote, 1,700 chose to reject unionization, while 738 voted in favor of it. The remaining 500-or-so ballots would not change the outcome of the vote, so they have not been tallied yet, according to CNBC. Even if they were all pro-unionization, the movement’s detractors would’ve won by around 200 votes.

That’s not a massive margin of victory for Amazon and its anti-union employees, but it’s still a decisive one. At least, for now — the results of the vote are being challenged by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU). In a news post published today, the organization suggests conduct from Amazon created an “atmosphere of confusion, coercion, and/or fear of reprisals,” and thus interfered with workers’ freedom of choice.

The RWDSU accuses Amazon of “bombarding” workers with signs, ads, texts, and calls that spread anti-union sentiments, as well as illegally collaborating with the USPS to install a ballot drop box near the BHM1 warehouse.

While it will be up to the National Labor Relations Board to determine the validity of these objections in an upcoming hearing, there is at least some evidence to support that last accusation — the bit about the ballot drop box.

A pro-union group known (aptly) as More Perfect Union took to Twitter to post screenshots of alleged emails between USPS employees. The group claims these emails show that Amazon “privately pressured” the USPS to install an “illegal ballot dropbox” at BHM1.

We’ll let you read the emails and decide the truth for yourself. If they’re legitimate, they don’t paint Amazon in the best light, but perhaps the company will come forward with some counter-evidence of its own.

Masthead credit: Jonathan Weiss



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