“Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join RWDSU earlier this year,” said Kelly Nantel, spokesperson for Amazon, in a statement. “It is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that these votes should not count. As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees.
The regional office’s decision is a setback for Amazon at a time when its business model is increasingly under scrutiny. In September, California passed a law that would require warehouse employers like Amazon to disclose the productivity quotas they impose on workers and ban quotas that prevent workers from taking breaks and obeying health and safety rules. of security.
Earlier this month, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has nearly 1.4 million members, elected a new president who ran in part on the promise of an aggressive campaign to unionize the company.
The Bessemer campaign was arguably the most serious challenge ever launched by a union at a nationwide facility owned by Amazon, which currently has no unionized warehouse in the United States. Amazon warehouse workers on Staten Island appeared to qualify for a union election in October, but later withdrew their requests to vote.
Understanding Amazon’s Employment System
In opposing the way the Bessemer election went, the retail workers union argued that Amazon consultants and managers created fear among workers by removing them from the workplace. Mandatory anti-union meetings if they asked skeptical questions and telling workers that they risked lost wages or benefits, or even their jobs, if they were unionized.
The Labor Board hearing officer’s August recommendation dismissed many of the union’s objections in this vein, but the officer found that “the employer’s unilateral decision to create, for all purposes Useful, an on-site collection box for NLRB ballots destroyed the lab. conditions ”which are supposed to prevail in a trade union election.
The hearing officer pointed out that the collection box was surrounded by a tent, on which Amazon printed a campaign message (“speak for yourself” and a directive to workers to “post your newsletter. vote here, ”and that the tent appeared to be on Amazon surveillance cameras.