‘Good enough for Americans, but not for Amazon’: firm rapped online for rejecting mail-in union vote

Documents filed with the US National Labor Relations Board on 21 January showed the world’s largest online retailer Amazon had urged the labor board intercede to consider an upcoming mail-in vote on unionisation, emphasizing it be held in person.

Online retailing behemoth Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos, has made the headlines for heatedly arguing that the move to use mail-in ballots in the upcoming vote to unionise its employees is fraught with “serious and systemic flaws”; the irony of the situation has not gone unnoticed by Republicans.

Conservatives have been quick to point out that Jeff Bezos-owned publication The Washington Post had spared no effort throughout 2019 to hammer ex-president Donald Trump for decrying mass mail-in voting.

Trump had persistently maintained in the months leading up to the November 3 election that the procedure, pushed by the Democrats ostensibly due to coronavirus pandemic concerns, might result in an election ‘rigged’ to favour his rival, Joe Biden. He subsequently blamed his loss to Democrat Joe Biden partly on such ballots.

However, The Washington Post denounced Trump’s claims as “a fusillade of falsehoods” and “muddled and dishonest”.

After the Election Day, when most media had proclaimed Joe Biden the winner before the official results were certified, the newspaper repeatedly dismissed Donald Trump’s assertions that the election had been ‘stolen’ from him as “baseless” and “debunked”.

The Post echoed the laudatory claims of other mainstream media in the country that the 2020 election was “the most secure in US history”.

Amazon had also sprung to action defending the integrity of Joe Biden’s election triumph and banning social media app Parler from using its servers.

The platform, favoured by conservatives and former US President Donald Trump, came under fire following the storming of the US Capitol as reports claimed protesters had used the app to coordinate their actions.

Amazon also claimed the app had been used to voice ‘debunked’ claims of fraudulent mail-in voting.

Mail-in voting was seen as a safer option for the UNION vote amid surging COVID-19 cases in the US, similar to the situation that unfolded during the 2020 presidential election in the country.

The push to form a union at Amazon and promote better job security had come as many non-unionised workers were being laid off due to companies closing and going bankrupt amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse had been slated to begin issuing mail-in ballots on 8 February for the vote, set to advance it a step closer to becoming the first Amazon location to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

However, Amazon, ostensibly concerned over “serious and systemic flaws” with such ballots, has asked the National Labor Relations Board to delay the union vote for 6,000 warehouse workers so it can be held in person.

Documents filed with the National Labor Relations Board on 21 January showed Amazon citing “gaps” in NLRB precedent amid the planning of the election, including “Acting Regional Director errors, and missed opportunities for mail-ballot improvements, all with the rights of thousands of employee-voters at stake.”

Social media was quick to highlight the irony of the stance adopted by Amazon.

Seattle radio host Jason Rantz tweeted that it was ‘remarkable’ that Amazon insisted on in-person voting. Others similarly called out the company for its ‘hypocrisy’.


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