NLRB Overturns Amazon Workers’ Decision Not To Unionize, Orders New Election

Even though the election result was clear, there were still a few vocal supporters of the loser who spent months spreading wild theories about how to change the outcome. They believe that a new election is the only way to ensure true victory.

This time it appears to have worked.

A high-profile, unionization vote at an Amazon warehouse near Bessemer in Alabama has been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board. The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) lost that election decisively in April—by a margin greater than two-to-one—but the NLRB is giving the union a second chance after a dispute that centers on the mailboxes used to collect workers’ ballots.

Yes, really. The argument is over whether mail-in vote might have affected an election outcome.

Lisa Henderson, director of the NLRB Atlanta region, issued Monday’s board’s ruling. She stated that Amazon’s decision not to put a collection box for post near its warehouse parking lot created the appearance of “illegal and improper” elections that were in violation of the NLRB rules. Amazon executives claimed that the mailbox was meant to facilitate workers depositing their ballots. However, the union claimed that workers were misled by the mailbox.

Henderson also supported the union’s complaint that Amazon “improperly polled” employees prior to the election, making “vote no” paraphernalia accessible to workers.

No surprise then that Amazon was ruled out by the NLRB. The NLRB has a history of supporting labor unions during these battles. However, an objective look at the election would show that there is little merit to the complaints of the union.

Would any American election be valid if campaign buttons were grounds to disqualify the election results? The union—like Sidney Powell and Rudy Guiliani—might argue that mail-in voting is inherently corrupt for hackish political reasons, but that claim has little basis in the real world.

According to April’s results, it was not Amazon’s intimidation that won the election but the RWDSU itself that led to the defeat. Nearly half the 5,800 employees at Bessemer’s warehouse voted and 738 of them voted in favor of unionization. This is about 13%.

Amazon’s Bessemer campaign stated that Amazon employees were making at least $15/hour plus benefits and that they would have to pay union dues. These arguments are valid and should be used to support unionization. This probably has more to with Bessemer’s outcome than any paper-thin conspiracies about mailboxes and campaign buttons.