Amazon has challenged hundreds of ballots in a vote to form a union at one of its Alabama warehouses in a union seen as one of the most important labor struggles in recent American history.
The National Labor Relations Board began opening ballot papers Thursday and starting voting at the election in Bessemer, Alabama.
3,215 votes were cast in the election out of more than 5,800 eligible employees. The choice will determine whether workers in Bessemer will form the first union at an Amazon warehouse in the United States.
According to Retail, Wholesale and the Department Store Union, hundreds of ballots were challenged, mostly by Amazon.
“There are still hundreds of challenged ballots, mainly by the employer, to be processed after the public count. As the ballot papers are opened and the ballots are counted, there is a possibility that more questions may affect the final results, ”said RWDSU.
The drive for association has sparked great political interest, and a list of left-wing politicians ̵
Voting in the poll can be challenged based on several factors, such as voter eligibility in terms of job classification or employment dates. The NLRB is likely to hold a later hearing on the validity of the challenged ballot papers after the undisputed ballot papers have been counted, if the number of challenged ballot papers may affect the election.
The union’s organizational drive in Bessemer grew from a 51-year-old warehouse worker, Darryl Richardson, who contacted RWDSU in June last year with an interest in starting organizing a union at the warehouse. A former union member in his former job in the automotive industry, Richardson’s enthusiasm for starting the job months earlier, quickly disappeared after witnessing employees face layoffs due to productivity quotas and see how wages lag far behind the wages he received in the automotive industry.
Richardson and other workers managed to get more than 3,000 union approval cards, enough for the NLRB to determine that the union had enough support to conduct an election. The union originally proposed a bargaining unit of 1,500 workers, which was later expanded to about 5,800 workers at the behest of Amazon.
Ballot papers for the union election were sent out to eligible workers on February 8, and workers were given until March 29 to send finished ballots to the NLRB.
Depending on the outcome of the vote, other legal challenges or objections may further delay the official results. The counting process has taken as long as it has been due to the challenging voting process and the large size of the eligible negotiating unit.