back to article US labor official suggests Amazon's Alabama workers rerun that unionization vote

Amazon interfered with a formal election by its warehouse workers in Alabama to unionize – and staff ought to be given a second chance to vote again, an official at the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has concluded. After pro-union employees, represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standard operating procedure in US politics today: if you don't get the result you wanted, find excuses to repeat the process until you do. This is what happens when people literally cannot fathom how anyone else would ever prefer ______ unless coerced, misinformed, etc. Because obviously what I believe (the opposite of ______) is the only possible way anyone could ever think. Obviously.

    1. Mr Booth
      Coat

      I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

      You do know what a free and fair ballot is? Or maybe not if you are in the US.

      Someone grab my coat please, it's the one with the stuffed pockets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

        "You do know what a free and fair ballot is?"

        Yes, it's one in which every vote is counted and reported accurately, AS CAST. Union representation in the US is decided by secret ballot, and the ballots are counted by the NLRB (who are part of the government, very pro-union, and totally independent of any corporation). So there can be no coercion and if there was miscounting it's the government's own fault.

        "Free and fair" does not mean "has the outcome I personally wanted or thought the electors should choose." That's exactly the opposite of free and fair, in fact, and one of the biggest problems with the US today: no one wants to accept the outcome of elections if they dislike the result. The main difference is that progressivists get to keep running them over and over again until they finally win, then they lock in that result forever. But the refusal to accept results of free and fair elections is a nearly universal failure in the US, and it must stop.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

          Maybe you should educate the GOP and Trump then and all the States bleating.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

            That was kind of the point, yeah? I'm explaining that these are both examples of the same kind of misbehaviour coming from ideologically opposite people. And I've also been clear that they're equally wrong and need to stop.

            But you don't care, because you've shown yourselves to be part of the problem. When Mr Trump's supporters do it, they're evil and should be officially censored, privately silenced, and publicly prosecuted. When a union's supporters do it, with the same evidence of electoral fraud (i.e., none), they're to be glorified and rewarded with a new election. And presumably as many new elections as it takes for them to get the result you wanted them to have.

            See the problem yet, or have you gone so far off the deep end that the only thing that matters in deciding whether an action is right is the ideology behind it?

            1. gandalfcn Silver badge

              Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

              You don't have a clue, do you. The statement about Amazon was "Amazon deliberately engineered an unfair election environment that skewed the vote." and gave proven examples. There was no mention of ballot tampering etc. On the other hand Trump et al have nothing but repeatedly made libelous and slanderous, unsubstantiated claims none of which stand up to scrutiny.

              That you are either incapable of or unwilling to understanding such simple things speaks volumes.

        2. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

          "You do know what a free and fair ballot is?" Yes, and it is far more than just counting votes so it is interesting you simply focused on that one aspect. The Official;s conclusion had nothing to do with the vote count, nothing at all.

          "So there can be no coercion". Why not? The coercion referred to was before the balot and the counting, si why are you being disingenuous?

          "an agency official determined Amazon violated labor laws during the vote in April." Labour Laws and vote counting are totally separate animals.

          "no one wants to accept the outcome of elections if they dislike the result." No. Only The right wing. When Trump "won" in 2016 it was not because he won at the ballot box but because of the inanity that is the Electoral College. There is no comparison between the strident, lying Trump camp and the muted objections against his 2016 "win".

          It is your ilk that has created the divisiveness you now bleat about.

          "But the refusal to accept results of free and fair elections is a nearly universal failure in the US, and it must stop." So go and take it up with GOP and its god? i.e. the ones to blame.

          1. KiiskiDR

            Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

            "no one wants to accept the outcome of elections if they dislike the result." No. Only The right wing. When Trump "won" in 2016 it was not because he won at the ballot box but because of the inanity that is the Electoral College. There is no comparison between the strident, lying Trump camp and the muted objections against his 2016 "win".

            It is your ilk that has created the divisiveness you now bleat about.

            "But the refusal to accept results of free and fair elections is a nearly universal failure in the US, and it must stop." So go and take it up with GOP and its god? i.e. the ones to blame.

            ------------------------------------------

            Really? You're going to have the total lack of self awareness or integrity to post that, totally ignoring 4 years of obstruction and "Russia Russia Russia" from the left stating that the election was illegitimate because "Trump was a Russian operative" nonsense that was parroted almost universally by the media and was proven wrong by a literally PARTISAN committee of leftist leaning government officials?

            I think the OP has a point. Nowadays it's *always* politicized by both sides, and it's wrong.

            1. MrDamage

              Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

              You mean when Trump was caught on camera asking Russian hackers to help him win the election by attacking his opponent?

              And don't try and say he was joking. We all know he does not understand the finer concepts of human behaviour, like compassion, intelligence, and humour.

              1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

                I have to laugh when the fact and reality downvoters downvote facts. And they are the ones who decry the cancel culture culture. Pure goldy.

            2. gandalfcn Silver badge

              Re: I wasted valuable brainpower responding to this.

              Yes, it is wrong, bit please put the blame where it should be. Wo politicised AGW" The right.. Who politicised education? The right. Who politicised science? The right.

              The ethos of the right is against science and pro biblical literalism.

              The right is teaching ID, Creationism and YEC as real science and denouncing evolution etc. in many public schools and even more private ones, and have a policy that this should be mandatory in all schools.

              YEC Pence ring a bell?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Very astute. Ever time a union loses a vote for unionisation, they file a lawsuit. Every. Single. Time.

      I wish the Teamsters would merge with the union that executed Jimmy Hoffa.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        And every time the union wins, the employer does.

        Every. Single. Time.

        What's your point, exactly?

      2. MrDamage

        If it really was a free and open election, where the workers "voted overwhelmingly in favor of a direct connection with their managers and the company.", then Amazon would have absolutely no problems with a second election, as it will show the exact same outcome, right?

        They don't even have to worry about lost productivity either. The workers can just drop their piss-bottle into the appropriate "Yay" or "Nay" receptacle.

  2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    True enough.

    But really, is it necessary to attempt to load the ballot so hard the other way ?

    Why not just be honest and decent ?

    Would that be so hard ?

    If Amazon played by the rules and still won, it would be a clear result. The fact that they don't implies they expect to lose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What exactly do you think politics is, if not trying to convince electors to vote for what you believe to be in your own interests? It's a dirty business, always has been, and the only thing you can really count on is that everyone engaged in the process will tell you lies, distort the truth, and slant the hell out of everything in between. If you can't handle it, don't vote.

      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

        There is honest and fair and there is being underhand. " If you can't handle it, don't vote." Bless. Posting that pretty well sums up your politics.

      2. YetAnotherLocksmith

        I can see why you went anon for that post, matey. I wouldn't have put my name to something so stupid either!

      3. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge

        "It's a dirty business, always has been, and the only thing you can really count on is that everyone engaged in the process will tell you lies, distort the truth, and slant the hell out of everything in between."

        Dirty business - agreed.

        Lies, distortions, slant / spin - agreed.

        But I will keep doing my darndest to dig my way through all that and vote since it's the only weapon I have in this fight. I guess that's "dealing with 'it'" to you.

        Flip side: Most folks (from both extremes) don't "deal" with it -- the lies, distortions, etc. -- they revel in it, ignore it, or are (blissfully?) unaware of it, and all of them vote.

        Telling folks who don't like "it" (like me) not to vote isn't going to make "it" go away. "It" will never go away so long as human nature remains flawed -- downhill ever since Eden. Might as well vote anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not really. They know that the first thing that's going happen is that the union will complain to the NLRB about the robots, second they'll complain about the video surveilence, and third, yep, they'll go on strike. At that point, Amazon should simply bring in the robots and tell the union reps to take their strikers home because they no longer have jobs.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Given so called "right to work" in multiple states, Amazon could just dump their staff right now and "bring in the robots" anyway. Strike or no strike. The fact Amazon hasn't done so (yet) shows how fallacious your argument is.

  3. redpawn Silver badge

    Cheat in all Cases

    I wonder if they use use Alexa and Echo to gather personal info on union organizers in their homes. It would be par for the course for them and there is probably fine print allowing employees to be listened in to for quality assurance purposes.

    1. stiine Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cheat in all Cases

      That's a brilliant idea.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't see any difference between the behavior of Amazon management and the Chinese Communist Party. Compulsory brainwashing sessions and coercive monitoring of workers behavior.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      A totally false equivalency, not to mention bs. Amazon does not represent a nation, much as it believes it does. Bashing the CCP is very trendy at present maiky from those who believed it was clever shifting manufacturing and its associated pollution and terrible jobs to other countries was being ever so clever and profitable, but have now realised how stupid it was. They also totally ignore the practices in, for example, the USA. Morning brainwashing in all schools is a good example. As is Gitmo, invading and overthrowing foreign governments etc.

      As good Christians they should read John 8:7 and apply it to themselves.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The land of the free?

    But maybe not so brave….

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: The land of the free?

      Or free.

  6. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Pretty good demonstration

    Amazon keeps providing us with examples of why strong labour unions are needed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's always surprising how far companies are ready to go to fight unions in the US. It seems they consider it impossible to stay in business with unionized employees.

    On the other hand, it's hard to believe that redoing the vote could change the result, considering the massive rejection.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Perhaps they go so far fighting unions because they don't want to pay a fair wage, provide reasonable benefits and regard their employees as anything more than a resource to be used, abused and discarded at will. In a similar way to the same company's attitudes to paying taxes to the countries that host them.

      An attitude, unfortunately that is becoming more prevalent throughout the 'free world'.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Incredibly low turnout

      And given that most of the tactics used were to prevent people voting, it's not exactly surprising.

      The same tactics are being used by the Republican Party in all the states they control, and that should utterly terrify every US citizen, whether you support the GOP or not.

    3. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
      Holmes

      Massive rejection?

      Considering that the fact the location used was under Amazon's surveillance coverage, I would suggest that voter suppression was a prime (no pun intended) factor in Amazon's efforts to prevent unionisation.

      "We are watching who enters. If you vote the incorrect way (for a union) then anyone observed may not last much longer at Amazon". That is pretty much a clear message here.

      With all the other misconduct (the anti-union mandatory meetings, plastering their anti-union message all over the area used for balloting to name just two items), it is perfectly possible that the vote might actually have been in the favour of unionising.

      Voter suppression is not a new tactic (and it is hardly unique to the USA where big companies are involved) and is usually very difficult to prove; in this case, Amazon really screwed up and handed the union grounds to re-run the vote on a plate.

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Massive rejection?

        "Considering that the fact the location used was under Amazon's surveillance coverage,"

        That US Postal service box isn't the only one in existance. And surveillance would only indicate a vote. Not which way.

        People must think voters are idiots. They can be swayed by handing out water in the voting line. And if I want people to assume I vote GOP, I'm not smart enough to drop my ballot in the mailbox in the rich part of town.

    4. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Some of the most successful companies in the world are German and that is because unions and management are a team and work together, which are alien concepts in the :free" USA and to a great degree the UK at present.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Unions are an arm of a larger political party in the USA. As such, they have to take an opposing position to that which they perceive to be the politics of management. If the GOP says the sky is blue, the unions have to back a different color.

        Actual workers rights be damned for he sake of political expediency if necessary.

        1. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Utter nonsense. you have things the wrong way round, as the current Trump goo has conclusively proved.

  8. Colin Bull 1
    Thumb Up

    The third way

    The best employer I ever had 50 years ago embraced the unions and encourage all workers to join. They had a profit share scheme which encouraged everyone to work for the benefit of the organisation. They had a suggestion scheme where someone won a car and thousands of pounds as a proportion of the savings made. The managers and unions worked together.

    The owner was an asylum seeker called Mr Schreiber. Oh for the days. There is no reason this cannot be done now if the owners are not too greedy.

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Re: The third way

      Unfortunately the 'owners' are the fund managers and guess what their motivations are...

  9. Claverhouse Silver badge
    FAIL

    'If you have a problem, come and see me directly, instead of a greedy Union which is exploiting you'

    At the end of these meetings, anti-union leaflets and pins were left for staff to pick up, with supervisors watching them as they left.

    .

    The grand old British employers --- classical liberals to a man --- who formed anti-union leagues and such organisations run by stooges, from about 1880 to 1930 would have tears in their eyes.

    .

    .

    [ Plus blacklisting even to the 1980s... ]

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: 'If you have a problem, come and see me directly...

      > [ Plus blacklisting even to the 1980s... ]

      You mistyped 2010s and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find it still happening in the construction industry

  10. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Fair share

    If Amazon paid workers a fair share of the revenue, there would be no need for unions.

    This is Amazon's own making. They want to keep workers at poverty wages in order to send their boss to space. If I was in charge I'd get the whole management sectioned.

    Unions won't solve any of this. They'll charge fees and pretend they do something. Amazon will start paying them hush money and will give a 5 cent raise once a year or so, so that Unions can pretend they managed to do something for the workers.

    It's a scam and poor workers think they have no other ways to make Amazon pay fair wages.

    I think they should start writing to their representatives and ask to change the law so that the workers' pay is tied to company global revenue and no less than a living wage.

  11. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Unions

    As a Southerner, I will say that labor unions aren't very popular among the general population down here, so it's not entirely surprising that the Union lost in Aladamnbama.

    If anybody deserves to have a Union shoved up their ass, it's gotta be Amazon, but it will be an uphill battle for the Union if most of the employees are "Southern-born and Southern-bred" locals.

  12. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Crikey

    "the mailbox was placed in a tent, branded with Amazon's anti-union messaging and a sign on it saying vote here – in full view of Amazon's surveillance cameras"

    I mean, rather than getting into arguments about unions and their behaviour, of which many examples both good and bad can be found, shouldn't the most important point be the staggeringly awful way Amazon behaved here. You don't put ballot boxes (which in effect the mailbox here was) in a place branded with exhortations to vote one particular way if you believe in fair elections. And you certainly don't have cameras that you the company control conspicuously pointing at anybody who might dare to be seen turning up to vote. It's one step short of putting a sign up saying "you will be recorded if you set foot in here, and once identified we cannot guarantee that you will not suffer woeful consequences for doing so". Mind you, I get the impression they didn't actually need the sign, and they'd made it clear enough already what the implied threat was.

    It could only have been more shameless if they'd put the tent in the middle of a crocodile pen.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Crikey

      if they'd put the tent in the middle of a crocodile pen.

      And in an interview in 6 months time...

      <Interviewer>: It has been claimed that Amazon once again acted illegally in interfering with the running of the union vote, would you like to comment on those claims?

      <Amazon Manager>: Absolutely. we did absolutely nothing illegal, and did not interfere in any way with the vote. We learnt out lessons from last time, there were no cameras anywhere near the voting place, we did not have any mandatory talks or lectures on the topics of unions, and we did not place any information whatsoever in or around the tent. We followed the rules set down by the NRLB to the letter.

      <Interviewer>: It has been claimed however, that the Voting Tent was set up in a pit containing 5 live crocodiles.

      <Amazon Manager>: Well you can hardly blame us for the appearance of local wildlife in the area.

      <Interviewer>: It's been claimed that the crocodiles were not wild but came from a nearby crocodile farm.

      <Amazon Manager>: We like to support local businesses were possible.

      <Interviewer>: Its been claimed that those crocodiles actively prevented people from voting in the election.

      <Amazon Manager>: I assure you, those crocodiles have no opinion on unions one way or the other. And to make such a claim is absurd. So I'll be ending this interview now, goodbye....

      1. Nunyabiznes

        Re: Crikey

        @Lethal

        Upvote for the humor, but...

        if Amazon was dumb enough to use crocodiles in Alabama - they should be found guilty.

        *local wildlife would be alligators.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Crikey

          Urgggh I should have known that... My bad...

  13. skeptical i

    Have an honest above-board election.

    If Amazon is the great place to work they say it is, the voters will say so.

    If Amazon is the hellhole it is alleged by many employees to be, the voters will say so.

    In the second case, Amazon has shedloads of money and can easily afford to meet any union demands (wages, work conditions, benefits, humane rest room breaks) so I don't know what the problem is. If Amazon were a small company barely keeping its lights on I could understand the stinginess in employee treatment (in which case they might consider just shutting down completely), but this is very much not the case. Seems they want to give more reasons to people who refuse to buy anything from Amazon.

  14. gandalfcn Silver badge

    and in the UK, where Amazon is also under fire "A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: “The government will not tolerate the exploitation of vulnerable workers for commercial gain."" and this was after evidence had been produced and HMG asked to either stop using Amazon or use its leverage to stop the exploitation."

    "A spokesperson for Amazon said: “Over the last 10 years we’ve invested more than £23bn in the UK". So? Money made from exploitation with the intent of more exploitation.

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