As of Thursday night, workers at an Amazon Alabama warehouse appeared poised to reject the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union. With nearly half of the ballots counted by the National Labor Relations Board at 4 p.m. PT, votes against the union outnumbered votes in favor by a margin of more than two to one, with 1,100 votes against the union and 463 votes in favor. The count is suspended until 4:30 a.m. PT on Friday, and the results are expected later today.
Workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted over a seven-week period, returning mail-in ballotswhether to form the first American union in the Amazon. About 5,800 workers were eligible to vote and 3,215 returned their ballots. Hundreds of ballots were said to have been contested prior to the count based on whether the employee was eligible to vote in the election.
The NLRB will give a final tally if a party wins by a margin wide enough that contested ballots cannot change the results. If the margin is too narrow, the agency will resolve the litigation challenges that could take weeks.
Amazon fought hard against union campaign, sources say hire an anti-union consultant at a rate of $ 3,200 per day and requiring employees to attend training courses that advocate against unions. The company argued that it was already treating its workers well, with starting wages almost double the region’s minimum wage, as well as health, retirement and tuition benefits. A heavily unionized workforce could drive up Amazon costs and potentially have a say in the use of robotics and automation in Amazon warehouses.
Even if Amazon is the clear winner, the union could oppose the election on the basis of an unfair labor practice or an election that improperly swayed the outcome. In this scenario, RWDSU would have one week to oppose the election. If the Labor Relations Board decides in favor of RWDSU, the agency could order a recast of the election.
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