Amazon has called for an election re-run after workers at a New York City warehouse voted to form the company’s first U.S. union, claiming the U.S. labor board and worker-organizers suppressed turnout.
The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) has denied the allegations made by the online retailer, which is the second-largest private employer in the United States.
Amazon’s demand comes just a week after a landmark victory for organized labor, which has long sought to provide workers with protections at the company.
55 percent of employees voting from Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island chose to join the ALU, which has advocated for higher pay and job security. The turnout was approximately 58 percent.
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said: “We want our employees to have their voices heard, and in this case, that didn’t happen – fewer than a third of the employees at the site voted for the union.”
Amazon also accused the ALU of intimidating workers and distributing marijuana to gain votes in its favor, according to a company filing on Friday, April 8.
Derrick Palmer, vice president of the ALU, said Amazon is trying to “demean our character and undermine our efforts.”
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) of the United States must now consider Amazon’s objections before certifying the election result. It wasn’t immediately clear when this was going to happen.
Amazon claimed in its filing that the NLRB improperly assisted the ALU in gaining standing to hold an election and gave the impression that it supported the union.
Amazon also accused the NLRB of stifling turnout by mismanaging the polling area and allowing camera crews on the premises, which scared away voters.
An NLRB spokesperson declined to comment on these concerns, but the board has previously stated that it is independent and that its actions against Amazon have been consistent with its congressional mandate.
The ALU rebutted Amazon’s claims, claiming that the company did not contest low turnout in an earlier union election in Alabama, where workers voted against organizing.
It claimed Amazon was the one who intimidated workers, and the union has filed dozens of unfair labor practice charges against the company.