Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) called for a re-run of an election after workers at a New York City warehouse voted to form the company’s first U.S. union, claiming that turnout was suppressed by the US labour board and worker-organizers.
The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) has dismissed the claims levelled by the online retailer, which is the second-largest private employer in the United States.
Amazon made its demand a week after organised labour won a landmark victory over the corporation, which has tried to provide workers with rights for years. Employees at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island voted 55 percent to join the ALU, which has fought for better wages and job security. The voter turnout was around 58 percent.
“We want our employees to have their opinions heard, and in this case, that didn’t happen – fewer than a third of the employees at the facility voted for the union,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement.
According to a company filing on Friday, Amazon also accused the ALU of bullying workers and distributing marijuana to garner votes in its favour.
Amazon is attempting to “demean our character and undercut our work,” according to Derrick Palmer, vice president of the ALU.
Before confirming the election outcome, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the United States must process Amazon’s objections. It wasn’t immediately clear when this would happen.
According to Amazon’s complaint, the NLRB unlawfully assisted the ALU in gaining election standing and gave the impression that it backed the union. Amazon also accused the NLRB of stifling voter turnout by mismanaging the polling place and permitting TV crews on the premises, which scared voters away.
Although an NLRB representative declined to comment on these concerns, the board has previously stated that it is independent and that its enforcement efforts against Amazon have been in accordance with its congressional mandate.
The American Civil Liberties Union rebutted Amazon’s assertions, claiming that the corporation did not fight poor turnout in a previous union ballot in Alabama, where workers voted against organising. According to the ALU, Amazon was the one that intimidated workers, and the union has filed scores of unfair labour practise complaints against the corporation.