Union Alleges Interference, Threats of Firings At Amazon – Court Documents

The union assisting in the unionization votes at Amazon is calling for the results to be thrown out because of voter interference.

It was a highly contentious vote at Amazon. On lead up to the vote, stories were emerging left and right about the awful working conditions at Amazon. This includes high turnover rates, excessively high quota’s, and even employees being forced to urinate in water bottles among other things. With every reason under the sun to unionize, Amazon grew worried and initiated an offensive by openly attacking union supporters, banning organizers from talking about unionization on the property, forcing employees to sit through seminars aimed at discouraging unionization, and wallpapering everything including bathroom stalls with anti-union propaganda.

Then, as the votes got tallied, Amazon went so far as to challenge hundreds of votes. With stories of placing a mailbox in front of managements office in an effort to surveil who voted, many critics were concluding that Amazon was engaged in a major voter suppression campaign.

After that, the vote came down and the employees were defeated in their efforts to unionize. Amazon spun this as a choice by employees, but employees and organizers said that their fight isn’t over. This is largely thanks to the tactics that Amazon employed to bust the union and the hints were that legal action was going to take place.

As it turns out, threats of legal action wasn’t a bluff. Reports suggest that legal documents have been prepared in an effort to overturn the results because Amazon illegally interfered in the process. Those documents shed some new light on the voter suppression tactics employed by Amazon. From CBC:

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said in a filing that Amazon threatened workers with layoffs and even the closing of the warehouse if they unionized. It also said Amazon fired a pro-union employee, but declined to name the person.

Many of the other allegations by the union revolve around a mailbox that Amazon installed in the parking lot of the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse. It said the mailbox created the false appearance that Amazon was conducting the election, intimidating workers into voting against the union.

Security cameras in the parking lot could have recorded workers going to the mailbox, giving the impression that workers were being watched by the company and that their votes weren’t private, according to the retail union.

The union push in Bessemer was the biggest in Amazon’s 26-year history and only the second time one reached a vote. Workers reached out to the union last summer, tired of working 10-hour days on their feet, packing boxes or storing products, without getting enough time to take a break.

The report paints a grim, but unsurprising picture for the employees. It suggests that even if the union wins their case, it’s still an uphill battle for unionization. While depressing, it’s unsurprising given how notoriously anti-worker the United States has become over the last couple of decades. Still, it does show that the employees haven’t given the fight yet. So, it’ll be interesting to see if this ultimately goes anywhere no matte how legitimate the concerns are.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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