Initial Vote Counting Shows Amazon Workers Against Forming Union In Alabama : Reports

A preliminary vote count showed that Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama voted overwhelmingly against forming a union, according to several media reports.

With about half the 3,215 ballots counted, there were 1,100 votes against unionization and 463 votes in support. The counting is scheduled to resume on Friday, reports said.

About 5,800 workers at the Bessemer warehouse were eligible to cast their votes to decide whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union or RWDSU. About 55% of the eligible workers cast their votes in the election.

The election started in February and the ballots were to be returned by March 29.

The final results of the voting would decide whether the Alabama warehouse will be the first Amazon facility ever to unionize in the U.S. However, the preliminary results put Amazon ahead by an overwhelmingly margin.

Amazon union or the U.S. National Labor Relations Board or NLRB can challenge the ballots on any doubts of being tampered, fraudulent or from a worker ineligible to vote. RWDSU reportedly said that hundreds of ballots were challenged mostly by the employer.

The technology major, which was seeking a manual election despite the pandemic crisis, had tried to halt the mail unionization vote at the warehouse earlier this year, where 85 percent of the employees are Black.

The company requested the Board to halt the vote, asking to reconsider its plan. Amazon then argued that NLRB data shows that elections conducted by mail have a lower participation rate, and that the company was trying to increase turnout among employees.

However, the NLRB rejected the company’s request for a delay in election, and allowed the warehouse workers in Alabama to start their mail-in voting on unionization.

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