Workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted for seven weeks, returning ballots by mailwhether to form Amazon’s first American alliance. About 5,800 workers were eligible to vote, and 3,215 returned their ballots. Hundreds of ballots were reportedly contested before the count based on questions about whether the employee was eligible to vote in the election.
The vote count, which was broadcast live to observers and reporters, took place at the NLRB office in a small hearing room with two personal observers in a small gallery. An NLRB agent processes each ballot by placing it under a camera and shouting “No!” Or “Yes!” while reading the results. Observers had the opportunity to object to ballots if a voter’s intention seemed unclear, but this rarely occurred. Amazon took the lead early in the vote count and stayed ahead all the time.
After counting the ballots, the NRBB will give a final result if one party wins with a wide enough limit that the disputed ballots cannot change the results. If the margin is too narrow, the agency will address the challenges of litigation, which can take weeks.
Amazon is vigorously fighting the union initiative, reportedly hiring an anti-union consultant at $ 3,200 a day and requiring employees to attend trainings that oppose unions. The company says it already treats its workers well, with the starting salary being almost double the minimum wage in the region, as well as health, retirement and training benefits. A highly integrated workforce could increase Amazon’s costs and potentially have a say in the use of robotics and automation in Amazon’s warehouses.
Even if Amazon is the clear winner, the union may object to the election based on unfair practices or elections that have wrongly shaken the outcome. In this scenario, RWDSU will have one week to object to the election. If the Board of Directors decides in favor of RWDSU, the agency may order a re-run of the election.