A little more than half the workers at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse voted in a landmark union election there, according to the labor group involved in the push.
The National Labor Relations Board received 3,215 ballots that officials are expected to start tallying either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said.
That means roughly 55 percent of the Bessemer facility’s more than 5,800 workers participated in the election that could create the first union at an Amazon facility in the US.
That rate is lower than the 72 percent turnout the NLRB saw in 432 mail-in elections it held from mid-March through September of last year amid the coronavirus pandemic — though it’s on par with the turnout recorded in the six months before that.
Officials are in the process of opening each mailed envelope and moving the ballot into a box to be counted, according to the RWDSU, which will represent the workers if they vote to unionize.
The NLRB will then start a public counting process — but there are still hundreds of ballots that were challenged “mostly” by Amazon “that will need to be addressed after the public count,” the union said.
Amazon, the union or the NLRB can challenge a ballot if the party believes it came from an ineligible worker, is fraudulent or was tampered with.
The lengthy process of gathering and counting the ballots started last week after a March 29 deadline for eligible workers to cast their votes in the contentious and closely watched election.
Amazon has aggressively fought the unionization push, which could encourage the e-commerce colossus’ 800,000 US warehouse workers to organize if it succeeds. Politicians from President Biden to Sen. Marco Rubio have rallied behind the workers and urged Amazon not to interfere with the voting process.
Amazon launched a website — doitwithoutdues.com — aimed at discouraging its employees from organizing. It features the tagline “Vote Now and Vote No.”
The NLRB declined to comment Thursday. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With Post wires