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Amazon Loses Bid To Delay Unionization Vote At Its Alabama Warehouse

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  • The National Labor Relations Board denied Amazon’s request to delay a unionization vote in its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse and ensure it’s conducted in-person.
  • “Today’s decision proves that it’s long past time that Amazon start respecting its own employees; and allow them to cast their votes without intimidation and interference,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
  • Amazon has fiercely advocated against its Bessemer employees unionizing, reportedly posting fliers around the facility, including in bathrooms, attempting to convince workers to vote against unionization, according to The Washington Post.

The National Labor Relations Board denied Amazon’s request to delay a unionization vote in its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse and ensure it’s conducted in-person.

In January, Amazon requested that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) delay the unionization election, arguing that the proposed mail-in ballot election would disenfranchise up to 1,700 workers. The Bessemer, Alabama warehouse’s nearly 5,800 total workers will begin voting in favor or against unionization on Monday.

“Once again Amazon workers have won another fight in their effort to win a union voice. Amazon’s blatant disregard for the health and safety of its own workforce was demonstrated yet again by its insistence for an in-person election in the middle of the pandemic,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), said in an emailed statement.

“Today’s decision proves that it’s long past time that Amazon start respecting its own employees; and allow them to cast their votes without intimidation and interference,” Appelbaum continued.

If the unionization vote passes, the warehouse workers would become members of the RWDSU. (RELATED: Amazon To Get New CEO, Jeff Bezos To Transition Into Executive Chair Role)

“Our goal is for as many of our employees as possible to vote and we’re disappointed by the decision by the NLRB not to provide the most fair and effective format to achieve maximum employee participation,” Amazon spokesperson Heather Knox told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.

She continued: “Even the National Labor Relations Board recognizes that the employee participation rate for its own elections conducted with mail ballots is 20-30% lower than the participation rate for in-person voting.”

Workers protest in favor of adequate protections in an Amazon workplace on May 1, 2020 in Hawthorne, California. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

Workers protest in favor of adequate protections in an Amazon workplace on May 1, 2020 in Hawthorne, California. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

The Alabama Amazon workers first filed notice of a vote to form a union in November in an attempt to become the first unionized workers in the company.

In 2000, the company defeated attempts by the Communications Workers of America and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to unionize thousands of employees, The New York Times reported at the time. In 2014, a group of Amazon workers in Middletown, Delaware voted overwhelmingly against unionization, according to The Seattle Times.

To trigger a unionization election, at least 30% of the workforce need to sign a petition or cards, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB will then certify a union if a majority of workers vote in favor of it during the election.

Meanwhile, Amazon has fiercely advocated against its Bessemer employees unionizing, according to The Washington Post. The company has reportedly posted fliers around the facility, including in bathrooms, attempting to convince workers to vote against unionization. (RELATED: Corporations That Support The $15 Minimum Wage Can Afford It. Here’s Who Can’t)

Amazon, though, has several financial ties to Democratic campaigns despite Democrats generally being aligned with unions like the RWDSU on policy. David Zapolsky, Amazon general counsel, donated $250,000 to  President Joe Biden’s campaign, Steven Kessel, a former Amazon senior vice president, donated $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and Babak Parviz, another former vice president, gave $50,000 to Biden.

In addition, Amazon supports progressive policies such as raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, which unions favor as well.

Madeline Dovi contributed to this report.

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