Amazon Faces Wider Fight Over Labor Practices

A second union vote may be held at an Alabama warehouse, and new tactics by the Teamsters and other groups aim to pressure Amazon across the country. 

Aug. 4.– Since the start of the pandemic, Amazon has ramped up its hiring, bringing on hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide. But challenges to the company’s labor practices are growing quickly, too.

Those challenges were underscored when a hearing officer for the National Labor Relations Board recommended a new union election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, saying the company’s conduct during the organizing campaign had precluded a fair vote.

The board’s regional office will rule on the recommendation in the coming weeks. If it leads to a new election, as seems likely, the union would face long odds of victory. But Amazon faces a widening campaign to rein in the power it wields over its employees and their workplace conditions.

Those efforts include a campaign by the Teamsters that would generally circumvent traditional workplace elections and pressure the company through protests, boycotts and even fights against its expansion efforts at the local level. Legislation in California would force Amazon to reveal its productivity quotas, which unions contend are onerous and put workers at risk.

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