Amazon's playing it cool ahead of union vote do-over. Here's why

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Amazon can still file a legal challenge against the second union vote at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, but the vote will go ahead.

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Late last year, Amazon opted not to challenge a federal labor official’s decision to exclude the results of a highly publicized vote at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, where workers rejected unionization. But that doesn’t mean the online retail giant is going soft on organized labor.

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In November, a regional director at the National Labor Relations Board Found that Amazon broke labor laws About 6,000 employees during union elections at the facility. At that point, Amazon could ask NLRB regulators to review the decision nationally, the equivalent of an appeal. Instead, the company is waiting for the second vote to happen.

It is unlikely that Amazon, which has long warned against unionizing hundreds of its US facilities, has become fond of organized labor, experts say. Instead, Amazon is more likely to tread carefully as part of a deliberate strategy to manage its reputation and avoid coming across as overwhelming by withholding the vote.

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Labor researchers say Amazon has little to lose. workers in alabama Denied unionization A margin of more than 2-to-1 is a distinct possibility, suggesting another loss to the union. If employees instead favor a retail, wholesale, and department store union, Amazon has a nifty fallback option: It can still appeal for a new election after the votes are counted.

Given the union’s crushing defeat, Amazon can expect similar results without engaging in a strategy to find the NLRB illegal, says Rebecca Givhan, professor of labor relations at Rutgers University. This is because labor law allows employers to conduct intense anti-union campaigns at the workplace, including mandatory training sessions.

“They probably feel quite confident in that strategy,” Givhan said.

Amazon’s approach to the new union vote in Alabama comes as the online retail giant finds itself caught in the crosshairs of regulators, workers and other retailers. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating a mgm. proposed merger with, As well as . looking at the big question of Is Amazon an illegal monopoly, Legislators have criticized the company for the working conditions in its warehouses and distribution services, which have been portrayed as exploitative. Other retailers have complained that Amazon boxes its products on its side, while the website deals with a Steady tide of fake reviews Your algorithm is used for the game.

The company’s new strategy follows an agreement with NLRB Tell Employees It Won’t Interfere with its right to form associations. It also promised to repeal a rule that barred workers from being in non-work areas of Amazon facilities for more than 15 minutes before or after, a rule criticized by critics as workers on unionization. was seen as an attempt to prevent discussion.

Amazon, which also hasn’t challenged the NLRB’s finding that it worked illegally in a previous union vote, said it wants to avoid unionization because it would disrupt the company’s direct relationships with its employees.

“Our employees always have the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they decided not to join RWDSU last year,” said Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agrit. “It is disappointing that the NLRB has now decided that those votes should not count. As a company, we do not think unions are the best answer for our employees, and we look forward to our team [the Bessemer warehouse] Heard his voice again.”

The NLRB declined to comment beyond confirming that Amazon had not requested a review of the regional director’s decision.

Amazon’s image is especially important right now, when workers have more options due to a tight labor market, says Keerthy Kalyanam, who directs the Institute for Retail Management at Santa Clara University. Unemployment stood at 4.2% in November, and there are about 6 million fewer people In the job market now compared to the start of the pandemic, employers to hire fewer people.

Kalyanam says that instead of fighting the union over legal challenges, it makes more sense for Amazon to win over workers by offering wage increases and increased benefits. Amazon is already rolling out pay increases, benefits and education for employees, a pitch that makes it television commercial Who sees the time of heavy wind.

“If a company does a good job of meeting those needs, unionization should be a significant issue,” Kalyanam said.

Andrew Macdonald, a labor attorney for Fox Rothschild, which represents employers, says that by allowing the new election to go ahead, the company avoids the appearance of a cancellation of the vote.

“Why is the process seen as slowing down?” Macdonald, who is not involved in the case.

The union faces the same tough odds it did in the first election, when Amazon reportedly hired an anti-union advisor and set up what the NLRB said was a voting booth in violation of the agency’s orders. Although Amazon may not use its mailbox strategy again, it may still require employees to attend anti-union training sessions. The company is also free to re-appoint anti-union advisors.

Adding to the odds that the union will win, there will likely be a sizable slew of new employees to win this time around, given how often workers cycle in and out of Amazon’s warehouse jobs.

In any case, it looks like Amazon likes its odds in the new election, McDonald’s says.

“Strategically, it could just be, ‘We think we’re going to win re-election,'” he said, “go ahead and get it.”

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