OPERATIONS

Report: LLBean.com tops in December online customer service

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – LLBean.com was ranked No. 1 in customer service among all major online retailers during the month of December 2013. According to the Stella Monthly Ranking from the StellaService customer service analysis firm, LLBean.com snared this honor for the second consecutive month.

In addition, during December 2013 Amazon.com ranked first in returns in the mass merchant category for the second consecutive month with an average of just two days to issue a refund, beating out all competitors in the vertical by more than three days. Lowes.com was the top rated shipper in the month of December. Lowes.com ranked at the top in a month when shipping delays made headlines by being fast at fulfilling orders and also sourcing products from stores in the same city as the order was placed or within a 150-mile radius, leading to faster transit speeds.

Fab.com improved in the month of December to join the Top 10 overall retailers. In the mass merchant category, Fab took the top spot in email response time and packaging fit, and it was ranked in the top five in shipping.

The top 10 overall online retailers for customer service in December were L.L.Bean, Wayfair, Net-A-Porter, Ralph Lauren, Fab.com, Lululemon, J.Crew, Barneys, Sierra Trading Post, and Sur La Table. December is the highest overall volume online shopping month of the year.

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Report: Amazon workers in Delaware reject union

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Technicians working at an Amazon.com fulfillment center in Middletown, Del., have reportedly rejected a bid to unionize from the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). According to Reuters, a group of 27 maintenance and repair technicians voted against joining the IAM, 21-6.

A majority of the 1,500 workers at the center were not affected by the vote. Regulations prohibit another unionization vote for at least one year. An Amazon.com spokesperson told Reuters employees had made it clear they do not want union representation, while an IAM spokesperson said Amazon, which actively opposes unionization among its employees, applied behind-the-scenes pressure on employees.

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NRLB files complaint against Wal-Mart

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint charging that Wal-Mart Stores violated labor laws in 14 states by taking action against striking and protesting workers.

The NLRB said the retailer illegally fired, disciplined or threatened more than 60 employees in 14 states for participating in legally protected activities to complain about wages and working conditions.

A complaint issued by the NLRB’s general counsel’s office said Wal-Mart representatives appeared on national news broadcasts and threatened to retaliate against workers if they went on strike. It also alleged they disciplined and fired workers for engaging in legally protected protest activity.

The complaint involves more than 60 employees, 19 of whom were allegedly fire as a result of their participation in the protests. Sixty-three Wal-Mart supervisors and one corporate officer are named in the board’s complaint.

"We believe that our actions were valid. We take our obligations very seriously. We look forward to sharing our side of the facts in these cases with a judge," said Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for chain in an Associated Press report.

Wal-Mart has until Jan. 28 to respond to the complaint. The case will then go before an administrative law judge. If Wal-Mart is found liable, it could be required to award workers back pay, reinstatement and reverse any disciplinary action. The retailer could also try to work out a settlement as the case goes forward.

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