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Amazon Faces New Labor Complaints in Alabama Organizing Vote

Feb. 22, 2022, 5:06 PM

The union seeking to organize Amazon.com Inc. workers in Bessemer, Ala., has filed complaints with the federal labor board accusing the company of meddling in a do-over election that’s underway.

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union filed three unfair labor practice charges Tuesday with the National Labor Relations Board, saying the company removed pro-union literature from break rooms and limited workers’ warehouse access to 30 minutes at the end of their shift to make it harder for organizers to talk to workers on-site.

The union also filed a broad challenge to Amazon’s use of what’s called captive audience meetings, a legal practice that allows employers to hold mandatory anti-union presentations. The union asked the Democratic-controlled NLRB to allow workers to opt out of management seminars, a ruling that could apply to all workers nationwide.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

An NLRB spokeswoman confirmed the complaints had been filed with the board Tuesday morning.

A union seeking to represent workers at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse last week filed a similar charge saying that Amazon unlawfully told workers their pay would go down to minimum wage if they voted to unionize. The group, Amazon Labor Union, also requested an “immediate end” to required anti-union meetings.

Ballots for the mail-in election in Bessemer are set to be counted March 28. An NLRB official called for a redo of the 2021 vote after concluding that Amazon may have suppressed turnout by installing a mailbox near the warehouse entrance, interfering with the controlled environment of the election.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Kullgren in Washington at ikullgren@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com; Andrew Harris at aharris@bloomberglaw.com