Amazon Bessemer union elections tie and go into overtime

The votes for the union campaign at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, have been counted, but the final result is so close it will depend on an upcoming court hearing.

The number of votes announced Thursday was 993 against and 875 in favour, with 59 ballots declared invalid and 416 contested. Since the contested ballots are sufficient to swing the election, the outcome is subject to a court hearing assessing the status of the contested ballots. This hearing has yet to be scheduled but is expected to take place in the coming weeks. Both parties also have the opportunity to appeal the election next month.

In an opinion published on its website, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union (RWSDU) said it plans to file objections to Amazon’s conduct. “Every vote has to be counted,” union chairman Stuart Appelbaum said. If the vote is in favor of unionization, the warehouse workers will be represented by the RWSDU.

The result so far is much closer than most expected. The union lost the first election last April by a margin of more than 2 to 1, but the National Labor Relations Board ordered a retrial, saying Amazon violated US labor laws. The RWSDU had expressed concerns a USPS mailbox installed in the camp lot while driving. The union claimed the mailbox had led some workers to believe that Amazon had improper access to ballots sent through the mail. The NLRB said Amazon “interfered with employees’ exercise of free and reasonable choice by creating the appearance of a voting irregularity.”

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

Update March 31 6:25pm ET: Added explanation of RWDSU. Amazon Bessemer union elections tie and go into overtime

Fry Electronics Team

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