Amazon, Labor Organizers Object to Alabama Union Vote

“Based on the evidence we have seen so far, as set out in our objections, we believe that the actions of the NLRB and the ALU have improperly suppressed and influenced the vote, and we believe that the election is again should be held so that fair and broadly representative votes can be held,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokeswoman, said in a statement.

In another objection, the company said the union had failed to file standard financial reports. In an interview with The Times this week, union president Christian Smalls said it had provided cash to needy workers, both through separate GoFundMe efforts and through the union’s funds.

If an employee wanted her bills paid, “we’ll pay that bill, we’ll just send money,” Mr. Smalls said. Legal experts said some of those transactions — such as extra pay for union organizers sick with Covid-19 — may be fine, but others could cause problems, depending on when and how many people received them.

But the NLRB “rarely” quashes elections on charges of union misconduct, said John Logan, a professor at San Francisco State University who studies employer campaigns. Amazon will have to prove that any offensive behavior could have changed the outcome of the election, he said, and “unlike Amazon, the ALU has no coercive power over employees.”

The employment agency granted Amazon a two-week reprieve, until April 22, to provide additional evidence in support of the objections.

In Bessemer, Ala., the union fell slightly short of the initial count of votes announced March 31: 993 workers voted against representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, and 875 voted in favour. But more than 400 ballots have yet to be counted as they were challenged by one of the parties. Those disputed ballots, enough to potentially influence the outcome, will be resolved at a labor council hearing in the coming weeks.

This year’s election was a rematch ordered by the labor council after it sided with the union that Amazon illegally meddled in an election at the facility last year.

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