By Lisa Fickensher
Source: New York Post

An Amazon worker at an Alabama warehouse claimed the e-tailing giant has been getting tougher with employees since it won a contentious labor vote there last month.

Darryl Richardson — a picker at the facility in Bessemer, Ala., that played host to the closely watched vote — testified at a Monday hearing that Amazon is now enforcing certain rules and policies after looking the other way when they were voting whether or not to unionize.

“Amazon is writing employees up for having their phone [out of their pockets], for damaged parts, missing items,” Richardson said during the video hearing before the National Relations Labor Board. “They are doing that now. They were not doing this during the election period.”

Richardson, who has worked at the facility since March 2020 and is still employed there, helped to organize workers on behalf of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. He was the union’s first witness in the hearing, which is expected to last a week or two, according to a RWDSU spokeswoman.

People hold a banner at the Amazon facility as members of a congressional delegation arrive ahead of a union vote in Bessemer, AL., on March 5. REUTERS

The union filed a complaint on April 19 with 23 objections to the final outcome — which resulted in just 738 employees voting in favor of a union compared to 1,798 rejecting it — claiming that Amazon “created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and or fear of reprisals.”

Richardson claimed that Amazon tried to sway employees with perks like 15 extra minutes tacked onto a 30-minute lunch break and with T-shirts, candies, ice cream and cookies during the voting period in March. All of that has stopped now, he said.

Richardson also claimed Amazon used pressure tactics to persuade workers not to vote in favor of the union, including an allegation that an Amazon manager filled out a ballot on behalf of a worker who was stationed about six feet from him.

AFP via Getty Images

A second witness, Jennifer Bates, who currently works at the Bessemer facility on the receiving dock, testified that Amazon solicited the resignations of some pro-union workers in what is called “the offer” — an exit bonus between $1,000 and $5,000 for both full time and part time employees.

“I took it to mean that they wanted to get rid of us,” Bates said during the hearing.

Amazon lawyers signaled that the offer dates back to 2014 and wasn’t limited to the Bessemer facility.