People protest in support of the efforts of the Alabama Amazon workers’ unions in Los Angeles, California, March 22, 2021.
Lucy Nicholson Reuters
More than 3,200 ballots were cast in high-stakes union elections in one of Amazon’s Alabama warehouses, according to the Union of Retailers, Wholesalers and Department Stores.
The election was open to more than 5,800 employees at Amazon̵
The workers had to send their ballots by mail by March 29. The vote count began last week through a private video conference chaired by the NLRB, during which Amazon and the union could challenge ballots based on factors such as illegible signatures or whether a person’s job classification entitles them to vote.
The public part of the vote count is expected to begin immediately on Thursday or Friday morning, RWDSU said.
Hundreds of ballots have been challenged, mostly by Amazon, according to RWDSU. If the victory margin is ultimately less than the total number of ballots contested, the final sum will be suspended until these challenges are resolved through a hearing held by the NLRB. All accepted ballots will then be added to the number.
There may still be additional legal challenges, as Amazon or the alliance have the opportunity to challenge the election results, which could further delay the outcome.
The Bessemer election has become a closely watched event inside and outside Amazon, as it will create the first union in one of the US e-commerce giant’s warehouses.
Bessemer employees in favor of the union raised a number of questions about the unsurpassed pace of work, lack of adequate rest time and other complaints. However, Amazon says it does not need a union to enter between it and its workers.
Representatives of Amazon and NLRB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.