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Amazon drive in Alabama sees turnout at 55%



People protest in support of the Alabama Amazon workers’ union effort in Los Angeles, California, on March 22, 2021.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

More than 3,200 ballots were cast in a high-stakes union election at one of Amazon’s Alabama stores, according to Retail, Wholesale and the Department Store Union.

The election was open to more than 5,800 employees at Amazon̵

7;s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, who are voting to join RWDSU. With a total of 3,215 ballot papers cast, this resulted in a turnout of approx. 55%, which is higher than what RWDSU originally estimated.

Workers had until March 29 to submit their vote by mail. Voting began last week via a private video conference, led by the NLRB, where Amazon and the union could contest polls based on factors such as an illegible signature, or whether a person’s job classification entitles them to vote.

The public share of the vote count is expected to begin as soon as Thursday or Friday morning, RWDSU said.

Hundreds of ballots were challenged, mostly by Amazon, according to RWDSU. If the margin of victory ends up being less than the total number of challenged votes, the final vote is paused until these challenges are resolved through a consultation of the NLRB. Any ballot papers that are accepted are then added to the ballot paper.

There may still be additional legal challenges ahead as either Amazon or the union have the opportunity to challenge the election result, which could further delay the outcome.

The election in Bessemer has become a closely monitored event inside and outside Amazon, as it would establish the first union on one of the e-commerce giant’s warehouses in the United States.

Bessemer employees in favor of the union have raised a number of questions about the pace of work, the lack of adequate break time and other complaints. However, Amazon has maintained that it does not need a union to get between it and its workers.

Representatives from Amazon and NLRB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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