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Amazon Union Vote in Alabama Challenged Again by Labor Group

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(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. interfered in a union election at an Alabama warehouse by prohibiting employees from discussing the union during work hours or posting literature about the effort, according to objections filed Thursday by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union seeking to void the election results.

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Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama, voted 993 to 875 against forming a union in a mail-in election that ended in March. More than 400 contested ballots haven’t been counted and could influence the final result. The union still filed its objections, saying Amazon allowed anti-union materials to be displayed in work areas, but prohibited pro-union displays. The objections also accuse Amazon of engaging in surveillance of employees during the election period.

“We are filing objections on Amazon’s behavior during this election, which include countless attempts to intimidate workers, even going so far as to terminate and suspend workers who supported the union,” union president Stuart Applebaum said. “Amazon’s behavior must not go unchallenged, and workers in Bessemer, Alabama, must have their rights protected under the law.”

Amazon employees at the warehouse voted last year against forming a union. The National Labor Relations Board ordered that the election be held again after determining that Amazon unlawfully interfered in the process.

Amazon filed its own objections to the conduct of the vote late Thursday, arguing that a mail-ballot election was inappropriate and that union representatives surveilled workers and offered to take their ballots, among other claims.

“We’ve said from the beginning that we want our employees’ voices to be heard and we hope the NLRB counts every valid vote,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in an emailed statement.

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island voted in March to join the fledgling Amazon Labor Union, a major defeat for the Seattle-based company. Amazon has until April 22 to challenge the results of that election. Another union election for a different Staten Island facility is scheduled to begin later this month.

(Updated with Amazon comment.)

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