U.S. labor board sets dates for union vote at Amazon warehouse in Alabama


By Julia Love

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -The U.S. National Labor Relations Board said on Tuesday that it will send unionization ballots to workers at an Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama on Feb. 4, setting the stage for the next labor contest facing the online retailer.

Votes in the mail-ballot election, which is a re-run after the NLRB found Amazon interfered last year, will be counted starting on March 28, according to a notice published by the NLRB. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) has been seeking to represent the workers.

The contest comes as scrutiny of working conditions at Amazon has intensified, with some employees seeking to organize at facilities in New York and Canada. Labor experts have said a victory at even one warehouse would be a milestone that could invigorate the U.S. labor movement.

In a statement, Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agrait said: “Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU last year. We look forward to our team in (the warehouse) having their voices heard again.”

The RWDSU said it was still worried about Amazon “continuing its objectionable behavior in a new election”.

“We will continue to hold them accountable for their actions,” it said.

In August, an NLRB hearing officer said the company’s conduct around the previous vote had interfered with the election, citing, for instance, the impression of surveillance workers may have had while voting. An NLRB regional director officially called for a re-run in November.

In last year’s count, workers at the Bessemer warehouse rejected forming a union by a more than 2-to-1 margin. The organizing drive had garnered support from U.S. lawmakers and President Joe Biden.

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