Employees at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer , Alabama voted against creating a union. The final count which was announced this past Friday, was 1,798 no’s to 738 yeses.
The attempt to form a union at this particular warehouse is said to be significant in that it would have far-reaching effects if it succeeded, encouraging others to organize, and other employees of other companies as well, such as Wal-Mart.
The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union says it’s heard from hundreds of Amazon employees since the union attempt began. Amazon has been accused by Union leaders of “blatantly illegal conduct.” Amazon denies the accusation. The Union has charged the wholesale giant of engaging in fear tactics such as intimidating employees.
The RWDSU’s statement.
“”We won’t let Amazon’s lies , deception and illegal activities go unchallenged,” the RWDSU president Stuart Applebaum said. “Which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by Amazon during the union vote. Amazon knew full well that unless they did everything they possibly could , even illegal activity, their workers would have continued to support the union.”
“It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true. Our employees head far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policy-makers, and media outlets than they heard from us. Amazon didn’t win – our employees made the choice against joining a union. Our employees are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace. We’re not perfect, but we’re proud of our team and what we offer, and will keep working to get better every day.”
The election arrives on the heels of the Democrat supported PRO Act which is still in the Senate awaiting a vote.
“The bottom line is that workers need to be empowered to organize and call for better conditions,” said Sheheryar Kaoosji, who is the executive director of the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, a member of the anti-Amazon coalition Athena. “That’s what Amazon is fighting against through intimidation and fear.”
Sources: The Week, Amazon, The Hill.