Amazon has scored a big win in Alabama, as workers voted not to unionize in the biggest unionization push the company has seen in the US.
Workers at the company’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse began the process of setting up a union vote earlier this year. Amazon immediately began a full-court press initiative to discourage those efforts, including go so far as to put propaganda in bathroom stalls.
It appears the company’s efforts were successful, as NPR is reporting the employees have voted not to unionize. The union is filing a legal challenge to the results, and wants a hearing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The union wants the NLRB “to determine if the results of the election should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals and thus interfered with the employees’ freedom of choice.”
In addition to the bathroom propaganda, Amazon bombarded workers with anti-union text messages and mandatory “information sessions.” A mailbox that was supposed to provide a “convenient, safe and private” place to vote was placed inside an Amazon tent, a move many felt was further intimidation. Similarly, the company asked the county to shorten the timing of the traffic light outside the warehouse. Pro-union organizers believed it was to prevent them from being able to talk to workers sitting in traffic, while Amazon says it was standard practice during holiday and peak season.
Whatever the case, it appears Amazon’s fight over unionization is far from over. Given the company’s aggressive tactics, tactics that caused its own investors to tell it to back down, the company may have won this battle at the cost of the war.