U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville is once again questioning the decision to allow a second union election at Amazon’s Bessemer fulfillment center – on the eve of counting the votes.
The Alabama Republican is one of two U.S. senators who have signed a letter to the National Labor Relations Board regional director who ordered the election. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), ranking member on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, also signed the letter.
The two in February sent a similar letter to Regional Director Lisa Henderson, saying the decision that called for a second election “indicates a troubling trend on the part of the NLRB to bend facts in favor of a union friendly result.” They also posed six questions in the earlier letter, requesting answers by Feb. 22.
Mail-in ballots went out last month to approximately 6,100 workers at the facility, which they will have until Monday to fill out and return. The election will deal with whether workers at the warehouse want to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU). A similar vote last year went decidedly in Amazon’s favor against unionization.
In ordering a second election, the NLRB ruled that Amazon corrupted the first mail-in vote by installing a mailbox under a tent on the Bessemer campus, giving employees the impression that the company was conducting the election and that they were being surveilled if they cast their ballots at the mailbox.
In the three-page letter, dated today, the senators say their earlier letter was replied to by a congressional affairs staffer, not Henderson, and none of their questions were answered. They also focus some of their attention on NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, who they say has given interviews to “partisan outlets telegraphing her intention to interfere with the independent work of the Regional Directors.”
“This raise concerns that the Order resorting to the extraordinary remedy of a re-run election at Amazon’s Bessemer distribution warehouse is less about improper employer interference, and more about Ms. Abruzzo’s need to guarantee a particular result,” the letter states.
The senators also pose six questions, asking about any contact between NLRB officials in Washington, or Abruzzo, and the regional director’s office about the results of the first election or the union’s challenge. They also requested any related correspondence, with answers, by April 7.