Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama are seeking to form a union, setting up a potential battle in the Deep South with a company that has opposed unionization efforts.
Last month, the employees at the Bessermer facility in Alabama filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board claiming they want election to form a union which will represent 1500 full as well as part time employees at the Amazon fulfillment centers. As of now it excludes the drivers, seasonal employees and professional employees.
The hearing has been scheduled for 18th Dec by the National Labor Relations Board. Lawyers representing the employees did not immediately return emails seeking comment.
A website created in support of forming a union in the Alabama facility requested it’s workers to join the cause for better pay, grievance procedures and working conditions, including safety standards. There have been 19 reported deaths at Amazon facilities since 2013.
“We face outrageous work quotas that have left many with illnesses and lifetime injuries,” the site reads. Such a filing typically requires at least 30% of the workers signing paperwork to say they want a union.
Amazon released a statement saying since the warehouse opened in March it has created thousands of full-time jobs in Bessemer, with average pay of $15.30 per hour, including full healthcare, vision and dental insurance.
“We respect our employees’ right to join or not join a labor union but we don’t believe this group represents the majority of our employees’ views,” spokeswoman Heather Knox wrote in an emailed statement. “Our employees choose to work at Amazon because we offer some of the best jobs available everywhere we hire, and we encourage anyone to compare our overall pay, benefits, and workplace environment to any other.”
Amazon was looking to hire two intelligence analysts charged with tracking “labor organizing threats” inside the company, they put the job listing in September which drew criticism from activists and news outlets and caused it to take down.