Amazon defeats historic Alabama union effort

man with RWDSU sign outside warehouse in Alabama

Amazon has defeated activists hoping to establish the company’s first unionised warehouse in the US.

Workers at the Bessemer, Alabama warehouse voted 1,798 to 738 against the effort, labour officials said. 

That represents a majority of votes cast, though some ballots have been challenged and have yet to be counted.

The contest was seen as a key test for the e-commerce giant, which has faced global criticism for its treatment of workers during the pandemic.

The union said it would challenge the results.

It accused Amazon of interfering with the right of employees to vote in a “free and fair election”, including by lying to staff about the implications of the vote in mandatory staff meetings and pushing the postal service to install a mailbox for the vote in an effort to intimidate workers.

“Amazon has left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which organised the effort.

“We won’t let Amazon’s lies, deception and illegal activities go unchallenged, which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by Amazon during the union vote.”

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