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Amazon takes the lead early as union votes increase

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A union push vote is underway at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, but the winner may not be determined until Friday.

By Thursday evening, the count was heavily leaning against the union, with 1,100 workers rejecting it and 463 voting in favor. Counting will resume on Friday morning.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Coalition, which organizes Bessemer workers, said it received 3,215 votes — about 55% of the nearly 6,000 workers eligible to vote. The union said hundreds of votes were contested, primarily by Amazon, for a variety of reasons, including voters not working there and not being eligible to vote. The union did not specify how many votes were being contested.

The National Labor Relations Board is counting votes in Birmingham, Alabama. To determine the winner, the winning margin must be greater than the number of votes contested, otherwise it is about whether to open the contested votes and count them in the final tally. A hearing will be held.

RWDSU President Stuart Aperbaum screamed Thursday in a statement prior to the results. campaign. But there is no doubt about it. This is still an important moment for working people and their voices are heard. “

We were unable to contact Amazon for immediate comment.

The vote itself has received national attention, with professional athletes, Hollywood stars, and even President Joe Biden joining the union.

If the union wins, it will be the first in Amazon’s 26-year history. But the vote also has widespread impact beyond Amazon, the second largest private employer in the United States after retailer Wal-Mart.

Whatever the outcome, labor organizations want Bessemer to encourage thousands of workers across the country, not just Amazon, to consider unionization. For Amazon, which has more than 950,000 workers in the United States and has been struggling to organize attempts, union losses could undermine similar efforts across the company.

The Labor Relations Commission has already considered each vote and has read the name and signature of the envelope with representatives of Amazon and the retail union, both of whom had the opportunity to challenge those votes. The contested vote was set aside and was not opened.

Currently, the board opens undisputed votes from the envelope and counts “yes” or “no” votes.

Even if there is a clear winner, the battle may not be over yet. If workers vote against the formation of a union, retailers can challenge Amazon for somehow polluting the election, which could lead to a re-election if the Labor Relations Commission agrees. .. If a worker votes to form a union, Amazon can file its own objection.

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Follow Joseph Pisani on Twitter: @ josephpisani

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