Amazon should stop interfering with its employees’ efforts to unite ahead of a crucial vote in Alabama, a group of more than 70 of its investors said.
The round of voting for mail-in began this week among more than 5,800 employees in Bessemer, a Birmingham suburb, and marked the first attempt by US-based Amazon employees to vote for union representation.
But anti-union campaign has been waged through posters, bouts of text messages and mandatory meetings during working hours. A website has been set up to inform workers that unionization would mean that “it will not be easy to be so helpful and social with each other”.
The Amazon investors, led by Swedish groups Folksam and Ohman Fonder, collectively manage more than $ 20 billion in shares and also include the comptrollers for both New York State and New York City, Legal and General Investment Management, BMO Global Asset Management. and the Church of England Pensions Board.
In a letter, they called on Amazon to end the union breakdown and remain “neutral.” They added that Amazon appears to be going against the thrust of its own Global Human Rights Principles, published on the company’s website, which states that it is the ‘right of employees to join, whether or not to join with a union or other lawful organization of their own selection, without fear of reprisals, intimidation or harassment ”.
Scott Stringer, comptroller in New York City, said, “Like these workers are trying to organize with [the union] Amazon’s investors look to health, safety and protection. We want employees to know we have their backs. There is strength in their unity and strength in labor, and they have my full support in their fight for a safe, fair workplace. “
In a successful vote, workers at the facility would join the retail, wholesale and department store union, which has pledged to focus on complaints such as packaging quotas, workplace safety, and the time allowed for bathroom breaks. In Europe, Amazon facilities with union-backed personnel were able to stop paying in full during the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis.
In a statement, Amazon said it followed the rules of the National Labor Relations Board.
“We’ve provided education that helps workers understand the facts of unionizing,” Amazon said. “If the union vote is successful, it will affect everyone on the site and it will be key employees who understand what that means for them and their day-to-day lives at Amazon.”
Last month, when it was announced that the vote would go ahead, Amazon launched a website – DoItWithoutDues.com – detailing what it considered the downsides of joining a union.
In addition to a link to a document detailing the salaries of local union representatives, the site contained messages such as “An authorization card or online form is LEGALLY BINDING and may require you to PAY monthly dues immediately from YOUR PAYMENT” and “WHY NOT the money and the books, get gifts and things you want? DO at no cost! ”.
Last week, the NLRB rejected Amazon’s request to postpone the vote as well as to vote at a booth. For the union vote to be successful, donors must attract 50 percent plus one of the returned votes. The vote will close on March 29.