Written by Angela Landes (News Writers)
In November of 2020, Alabama Amazon workers filed with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a unionization vote. This was in response to low wages, bad working conditions, and a lack of job security. Amazon has long been criticized for its treatment of workers in terms of a lack of bathroom access, but Amazon recently paid for an ad showing that many workers have bathroom access at all times. However, these workers also have an allotted time length unknown to them to spend in the bathroom which if exceeded could get them fired, which is one reason the workers attempted to form a union.
Amazon hired the Morgan, Lewis & Bockius company- a law firm famous for being the biggest union-buster in the globe, and put out advertisements against unionization to its workers before the union vote was scheduled. The Amazon employees organizing the union held a campaign in support of the union and thousands of people across the United States and the world participated in an organized 1-week boycott of Amazon in support of the workers, the monetary effect of which is unknown.
The worker union vote took place from February 8 through March and ended in a majority no vote on forming a union. Amazon contested about 500 of the ballots and placed ballot boxes in locations where workers could be tracked to their ballots. Because of this, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which supported the Alabama Amazon workers in their organizing efforts, is filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that Amazon illegally interfered in the vote. Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union says in reflection of the union vote that “People were not saying that they were satisfied with Amazon’s working conditions in any way. They were saying that they were afraid to vote for the union.” Amazon has denied any illegal interference or worker intimidation and plans to contest these allegations when they are filed.