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Union files objections to Amazon's conduct during Alabama vote

By
Don Jacobson
Delivery trucks line up at an Amazon facility in Hawthorne, California, on December 15, 2020. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Delivery trucks line up at an Amazon facility in Hawthorne, California, on December 15, 2020. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 19 (UPI) -- The union that unsuccessfully tried to organize an Amazon fulfillment center in Alabama announced Monday it has officially filed objections to the company's conduct during the campaign.

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said it has lodged a series of 23 objections with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging Amazon "interfered with the right" of workers at its Bessemer, Ala., facility to "vote in a free and fair election."

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Its objections range from illegally surveilling ballot collection boxes to "threatening workplace layoffs and facility closure" should workers vote in favor of unionization.

Of 3,200 ballots cast by mail and tallied 10 days ago, about 1,800 opposed joining the RWDSU compared to fewer than 800 in favor. About 5,800 workers at the Amazon facility were eligible to vote.

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The union alleges the company's conduct during the election "prevented a free and uncoerced exercise of choice by the employees."

"Workers fighting for a voice and fair treatment in the workplace will await the results of the hearings on the objections to determine the final outcome of their union vote," union officials said in an issued statement.

"After enduring an intensive anti-union campaign designed by Amazon to intimidate and manipulate, workers are seeking the chance to finally have a right to fair representation, a seat at the table and a real chance to fix the litany of issues that workers at Amazon have faced for far too long."

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Amazon spokeswoman Heather Knox, however, denied that the company threatened layoffs and disputed the union's other allegations in a statement issued to CNBC.

"The fact is that less than 16% of employees at [the Alabama warehouse] voted to join a union," Knox said. "Rather than accepting these employees' choice, the union seems determined to continue misrepresenting the facts in order to drive its own agenda. We look forward to the next steps in the legal process."

The Bessemer warehouse opened a year ago and is Amazon's first distribution center in Alabama. Workers started organizing toward a union vote in August.

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