retail news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Bloomberg reports that some 6,000 employees at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, "will vote by mail in February and March on whether to form a union, the National Labor Relations Board said, setting a date for a closely watched referendum on the relationship between the largest online retailer and the employees who pack and ship its products."

The vote is being done by mail instead of in person because of concerns about the pandemic.  Amazon has said it prefers an in-person vote.

The Bloomberg story notes that "Amazon, the second-largest U.S. employer, behind Walmart Inc., has largely avoided unions in its ranks, though some of its workers in Europe are members of labor groups. The vote is Amazon’s first in the U.S. since 2014, when a small group of technicians at a Delaware warehouse voted against joining the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers."

Sine one of the concerns most often raised by Amazon's warehouse employees have to do with pandemic-related safety protocols, I'm not sure that pushing for in-person voting is the best look for Amazon.