Second Amazon warehouse union vote planned for next month via mail-in ballot

The National Labor Relations Board today issued an announcement detailing plans for a second vote among Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse employees. The planned follow-up would be conducted via USPS mail-in ballots, which will be mailed out February 4 and counted March 28.

Late last year, the director of the NLRB’s 10th region announced that a second vote would occur, following Amazon’s lopsided victory against unionization. In a notice published by the NLRB, the organization notes:

The election that commenced on February 8, 2021, was set aside because the National Labor Relations Board found the Employer interfered with the employees’ exercise of a free and reasoned choice by creating the appearance of irregularity in the election procedure by causing a mailbox to be installed outside the Employer’s main entrance and by improperly polling employees’ support during mandatory meetings. Therefore, a new election will be held in accordance with the terms of this Notice of Second Election. All eligible voters should understand the National Labor Relations Act, as amended, gives them the right to cast their ballots as they see fit and protects them in the exercise of this right, free from interference by any of the parties.

The ruling on a second vote followed complaints from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that Amazon had violated the vote by installing an on-site mailbox and “vote no” signage around the site. The company has long insisted that the failure to unionize reflects the will of its fulfillment center workers.

A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch at the time, “Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU earlier this year. It’s disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes shouldn’t count.”

Questions around in-person voting were raised by the RWDSU during the initial vote, due to both pandemic concerns and potential voter coercion. The new vote will be conducted via secret ballot.

The RWDSU offered TechCrunch the following statement in the wake of this morning’s news,

Amazon’s misconduct during the first union election so tainted the outcome that the NLRB overturned the results and directed a second election for workers in Bessemer, Alabama. We are deeply concerned that the decision fails to adequately prevent Amazon from continuing its objectionable behavior in a new election. We proposed to the NLRB a number of remedies that could have made the process fairer to workers, which were not taken up in the Notice of Election issued today. Workers’ voices can and must be heard fairly, unencumbered by Amazon’s limitless power to control what must be a fair and free election, and we will continue to hold them accountable for their actions.

Amazon responded to the news, as well, telling TechCrunch, “Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU last year. We look forward to our team in BHM1 having their voices heard again.”