Live news: Port staff in China have been arrested for violating Covid-19 restraints

Live news: Port staff in China have been arrested for violating Covid-19 restraints

The dates have been set for a re-run in the contentious battle for a union at the facility in Bessemer, a southwestern suburb of Birmingham in the state’s most populous county of Jefferson. Mail-in ballots will be sent to employees on February 4, and counting will begin on March 28.

Story Highlights:

  • Employees at an Amazon facility in Alabama will have another chance at becoming the first warehouse workers at the ecommerce giant to unionise.

  • The result of the previous ballot, comfortably won by Amazon, 1,798 votes to 738, was thrown out due to foul play. Amazon was deemed by the National Labor Relations Board to have acted illegally when it had a mailbox installed outside the facility’s entrance, a move that risked influencing workers’ decisions.

For the re-run, Amazon requested an in-person ballot on-site. The Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union suggested an in-person vote at a nearby civic centre instead. However, citing Covid-19-related concerns, the NLRB said the vote would again be conducted by mail.

“No party shall erect a canopy, tent, banner, sign, or other object on, at, around, or in view of the mailbox,” wrote NLRB regional director Lisa Henderson. “Nor shall any party issue a directive, suggestion, or other statement to voters concerning use of the mailbox for the purposes of this election.”

The NLRB has ordered the disputed mailbox to be moved to a “neutral” section of the Amazon facility.

The RWDSU said the NLRB’s notice did not fully address its concerns of tampering. “We are deeply concerned that the decision fails to adequately prevent Amazon from continuing its objectionable behaviour in a new election,” it said.

The union needs a simple majority of returned votes to create the first unionised Amazon facility in the US.

“Our employees have always had the choice of whether or not to join a union, and they overwhelmingly chose not to join the RWDSU last year. We look forward to our team in BHM1 having their voices heard again,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement to the FT. This post has been updated to include comment from Amazon

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