Amazon improperly pressured Alabama warehouse workers to vote against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and should hold a new union election, according to recommendations from a National Labor Relations Board hearing officer.
The NLRB had not released the filing , but the union and Amazon put out statements confirming the recommendation. The NLRB will likely make the hearing officer’s report public Tuesday, after redacting some details it believes should remain private.
The recommendation stems from the fiercely contested election at a warehouse that ended in April with a resounding defeat for the union. Workers rejected unionization by a more than 2-to-1 margin, a loss for the RWDSU and labor groups broadly. During the nearly two-month mail-in balloting, the union drew support from leaders at the AFL-CIO as well as liberal politicians nationally, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams.
This campaign brought the unprecedented approval of the president of the United States for a union. And the union still lost. So….clearly there’s a lot about labor law that’s broken when a company can engage in this level of anti-union blitz. The NLRB still works well enough under a Democratic administration that maybe there will be a new election. But how different will it be? That’s the question. It’s not as if Amazon will be unable to do anything to convince the workers to vote no. They will have to tone it down enough for the government, but let’s not pretend this is going to be a free and fair election, as we like to demand of other nations and, at one time, of our own. But we can also question whether the Retail Workers will be able to capitalize on it. The record of an NLRB intervention leading to a drastically changed vote on the second election in recent decades is not very strong. So I am glad to see this. It’s necessary. It may also lead us to seeing a second union defeat at that Amazon facility.