- Huw Hughes |
Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama have voted against forming the company’s first unionised warehouse by a margin of more than 2-to-1.
Workers at the Bessemer warehouse voted 1,798 in favour and 738 against the effort.
It’s good news for Amazon which has been facing mounting criticism over its treatment of workers during the pandemic.
But the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which organised the effort, said it would challenge the result, citing election interference.
“Amazon has left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees,” said RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum in a statement.
“We won’t let Amazon’s lies, deception and illegal activities go unchallenged, which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by Amazon during the union vote,” he said.
But Amazon has rejected these claims. “It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true. Our employees heard far more anti-Amazon messages from the union, policymakers, and media outlets than they heard from us,” the retailer said on its website.
It continued: “And Amazon didn’t win - our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union. Our employees are the heart and soul of Amazon, and we’ve always worked hard to listen to them, take their feedback, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to offer great pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace. We’re not perfect, but we’re proud of our team and what we offer, and will keep working to get better every day.”
The vote against the union was a significant blow to the US labor movement. RWDSU leaders hoped the union would have forced Amazon to negotiate a contract on issues such as work rules and pay.