Amazon Requests In-Person Union Vote in Covid-Plagued Alabama

25 Janvier, 2021, 01:50 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Amazon seeks to halt union election at Alabama warehouse

Amazon filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday over the agency's decision permitting the almost 6,000 employees who work inside Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse to participate in the unionization election through mail-in ballots.

The e-commerce giant filed a motion Thursday to delay the union election, which is set to begin February 8, so that the NLRB may revisit its decision to hold the election by mail over the course of almost two months instead of through an in-person event.

Last week, the board approved conducting a mail-in election among the Bessemer facility's almost 6,000 employees on whether to form a union.

In the petition, Amazon said the NLRB's decision was flawed as it had not adequately defined an outbreak, along with a number of other objections.

That guidance "reflected assumptions developed comparatively earlier in the pandemic - before scientific understanding of the virus and possible precautions had developed to where it is today", Amazon says in the filing. An Amazon spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Workers at the facility first filed a notice in November with the NLRB about holding an election to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). In a filing Thursday, Amazon argued for a stay in the election. Moreover, in-person voting could disenfranchise voters who have COVID-19 or are concerned about contracting the disease, she wrote.

Democrats heavily pushed mail-in voting, likely because mail-in ballots would allow more voters to participate in the election process. "Both of these factors weigh in favor of a mail ballot election".

Amazon said that at its Bessemer facility, 2.88% of Amazon's 7,575 employees and third-party workers at the facility - or 218 people - tested positive during the 14-day period ending on January 7. Amazon rejected the idea that this would be considered an outbreak.

"This result also stands in vivid contrast to the recent, successful efforts by many state governments to expand the choices for how and when individuals can vote in political elections, including through mail ballots", Amazon argued. "Our union will not back down until Amazon is held accountable for these and so many more unsafe labor practices". "The Board, ironically, has been limiting the right to vote through its mail ballot-only approach for nearly every election held since March 2020".

Amazon had proposed holding the election in a heated tent set up in the facility's parking lot and offered use of software created to enforce social distancing.

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