Alabama Amazon workers are crying foul, once again, at the corporate giant for interfering with the union vote.
They’re accusing management of removing pro-union literature from non-work areas where anti-union literature had been posted. Amazon’s Bessemer’s management had also been accused of organizing “Captive-Audience
Meetings” which workers were coerced into joining to hear about the reasons not to join a union. They’re also being accused of promulgating a new rule that limits workers’ access to the facility for more than 30 minutes before and after their shift. It’s not in the job’s policy handbook.
“Being forced to attend the captive-audience anti-union trainings was degrading,” stated Roger Wyatt, a BAmazon Union Worker Organizing Committee member and Amazon BHM1 associate. “Amazon treated us like mindless robots, downloading mis-information to us. And the irony is, these meetings are the longest I’ve ever gotten to sit at work. If it’s impossible to allow me adequate break and bathroom time, why is it possible, let alone mandatory, for me to sit through hours of anti-union trainings? It should be our choice if we have to sit through one side’s arguments or not, it’s protected under the law and needs to be stopped permanently.”
An Amazon spokesperson said they haven’t seen Tuesday’s filing and that “we’re confident that our teams have fully complied with the law. Our focus remains on working directly with our team to make Amazon a great place to work.”
In late January, members of the BAmazon Union Worker Organizing Committee held a media briefing on the filing of the union’s Request for Review of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Notice of Election. In the Notice of Election, there was not a sufficient remedy to the mailbox, which was the main focus of the objections to the first election and the NLRB’s decision to grant workers a re-run election.
Last year, workers in Bessemer had organized what they felt were enough people to vote but were thwarted when they lost the election to form a union. This brought about accusations of interference against Amazon for violating Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Workers called out Amazon for moving the needle on election results by installing security cameras to monitor the voter collection box in the job site’s parking lot, threatening workers with layoffs and with closing the facility, and threatening workers with docked pay and less benefits.
It’s something NLRB officials factored into their decision to let Bessemer workers get a second chance at a vote.
“By installing a postal mailbox at the main employee entrance, the employer essentially hijacked the process and gave a strong impression that it controlled the process,” read part of the NLRB’s solution. “This dangerous and improper message to employees destroys trust in the Board’s processes and in the credibility of the election results.”
Over the past year, Amazon’s organizing workers have received public support from elected officials, the NFL Players Association, the Writers Guild of America East and West, and U.S. President Joe Biden.
Biden’s support marked the first time a president publicly advocated for unions.
“Removing union literature from break rooms, limiting workers’ ability to talk with each other, compelling attendance at captive audience meetings to listen to anti-union messages—all of these actions expose Amazon’s undisguised efforts to stifle workers’ voices and its contempt for their rights to join together,” he stated.
“What’s Amazon afraid of?” said Wilma Liebman, former member and chairman, NLRB. “What’s Amazon afraid of?”