Amazon Bessemer’s Union Elections Are Tied And Going Overtime

The votes for the union action at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, have been counted, but the final outcome is so close it will depend on a lawsuit yet to come.

The number of votes announced on Thursday was 993 against and 875 in favour, with 59 ballots deemed invalid and 416 contested. Since the contested ballots are sufficient to win the election, the outcome will depend on a court hearing to assess the status of the contested ballots. That hearing has yet to be scheduled, but is likely to take place in the coming weeks. Both parties will also have the opportunity to object to the elections in the coming month.

In a statement posted on its website, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWSDU) said it plans to object to Amazon’s conduct. “Every vote must be counted,” said Stuart Appelbaum, union president. If the vote goes in favor of unions, the warehouse workers would be represented by the RWSDU.

The result so far is much closer than most expected. The union lost its first election last April by a margin of more than 2 to 1, but the National Labor Relations Board ordered a reshuffle over Amazon’s violation of US labor laws. The RWSDU had raised concerns about a USPS mailbox installed in the warehouse parking lot during the drive. The union claimed that the letterbox led some workers to believe that Amazon had improper access to the ballots sent by mail. The NLRB said Amazon was “interfering with employees’ exercise of free and reasoned choice by creating the appearance of election irregularity.”

Votes are also currently being counted for a separate union action at Amazon’s JFK8 facility in Staten Island, New York. The union is currently moving forward by several hundred votes, but the count continues on Friday.

Update March 31, 6:25 PM ET: Statement from RWDSU added.

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