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Amazon accused of ‘illegal tactics’ and intimidation after unionisation ballot

AMAZON was accused today of bulllying and intimidating its staff and using “illegal tactics” after the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU) failed in its bid for union recognition in an Alabama warehouse.

RWDSU president Stuart Applebaum said that “our system is broken” as he called on the US Labour Board to hold the online retail giant accountable for its “illegal and egregious behaviour during the campaign.”

The union accused Amazon of “intimidating workers” with an aggressive anti-union campaign, spreading misinformation and suggesting to staff that it would know which way they voted in the ballot which opened last month.

The vote to unionise Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse was the first major drive of its kind since 2014, when workers voted overwhelmingly against union recognition in a company warehouse in Delaware.

Just 55 per cent of the warehouse’s 6,000 staff took part in the ballot which was seen as a potential game changer for an industry that has a chequered history with regards to workers’ rights — a situation further exposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of the 3,215 ballots cast, there were 1,798 votes opposing the union and 738 votes in favour. 

Despite the defeat Mr Applebaum remained optimistic. “Make no mistake about it; this still represents an important moment for working people and their voices will be heard,” he said.

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