World

About 500 challenged ballots at stake in Amazon union vote: report

About 500 challenged ballots at stake in Amazon union vote: report

About 500 of the ballots cast in Amazon’s landmark union election were challenged before the e-commerce titan took a commanding lead in the vote count, a report says.

The challenged ballots could make a difference if the number of votes in favor of unionizing Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse catches up with the number of votes against when counting resumes Friday, Reuters reports.

Amazon and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union challenged the ballots in a private process before the National Labor Relations Board began the public count Thursday afternoon, according to the news agency.

The NLRB will reportedly adjudicate the contested votes — which account for roughly 15 percent of the 3,215 ballots cast — if they’re needed to determine the election’s outcome.

Michael Foster of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union encourages voters at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama.
Michael Foster of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union encourages voters at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama.
AP/Jay Reeves

Amazon’s large lead so far makes it unclear whether they’ll be necessary. The NLRB had counted 1,100 votes against unionization by the time counting stopped Thursday, compared to just 463 votes in favor.

Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon.
Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon.
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The RWDSU — which would represent the Alabama workers if the union push succeeds — said Thursday that “hundreds” of ballots had been challenged “mostly” by Amazon. But it’s unclear exactly how many were contested by each side, according to Reuters.

Advertisement

Parties to a union vote can challenge ballots that that they suspect came from an ineligible voter or were tampered with, among other reasons, the news agency reports.

Amazon, the RWDSU and the NLRB did not immediately respond to requests for comment early Friday.

Union leaders are joined by community group representatives, elected officials and social activists for a rally in support of unionization efforts by Amazon workers in the state of Alabama.
Union leaders are joined by community group representatives, elected officials and social activists for a rally in support of unionization efforts by Amazon workers in the state of Alabama.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

The vote count is slated to resume Friday morning in a closely watched election that could bring the first union to an Amazon warehouse in the United States.

Amazon has fought tooth and nail against the union push while labor activists and political figures such as President Biden have thrown their support behind the effort.

An Amazon-sponsored billboard urging employees to  return their unionization ballots is stands in Bessemer, Alabama.
An Amazon-sponsored billboard urging employees to return their unionization ballots is stands in Bessemer, Alabama.
Advertisement
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

The RWDSU pledged to continue the fight Thursday while acknowledging it was likely to lose the vote.

Citing emails among federal employees, the union has reportedly accused Amazon of pushing the US Postal Service to place a mailbox outside the Bessemer facility — a move that could lead workers to think the company had a role in collecting their ballots.

People in Los Angeles, California, protest in support of the unionizing efforts of the Alabama Amazon workers.
People in Los Angeles, California, protest in support of the unionizing efforts of the Alabama Amazon workers.
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

“Our system is broken,” RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum told the Washington Post. “Amazon took full advantage of that, and we will be calling on the labor board to hold Amazon accountable for its illegal and egregious behavior during the campaign.”

With Post wires

Advertisement

About the author

mm

Raymond Hicks

With a knack for storytelling, Raymond started The Madison Leader Gazette about a year ago. Covering substantial topics under the US & World section, he helps information seep in deeper with creative writing and content management skills.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *