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Early Vote Count in Bessemer, Alabama shows Unionization is unlikely to happen

Jaleel M



The Amazon workers on Thursday were seen voting for forming a union in Bessemer, Alabama. The voting happened after a month-long campaign where the laborers tried to make inroads into the e-commerce giant.

1,100 employees against unionizing, while 463 voted in favor of it, as per the vote-tallying that paused at night. It would be an invincible jump for the union supporters, as they need 1,608 votes to be declared won. The union would be if approved, the very first for the second-largest employer in the country.

The RWDSU, (Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union) that was trying to represent the union said it would file the charges of unfair labor practice with the NLRB as a measure to challenge the vote, even though it is yet to complete. The union seeking the 5,800 workers’ representation says Amazon will be alleged with some of its anti-union activities breaking the law during this election run.

Amazon is yet to release a statement after the vote counting on Thursday concluded. The president of RWDSU, Mr. Stuart Appelbaum said, “Our system is broken, 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.” Mr. Appelbaum stated that it is still a crucial movement for workers and that their ‘voices will be heard.’

NLRB took two weeks to check ballots’ eligibility and counting after the seven weeks’ window to vote through mails ended on 29th March. Both the company and the union closely watched these proceedings. As per the union’s statement, 3,215 out of the 5,805 eligible votes were cast, and some hundreds among the votes were left contested by Amazon mostly.

The company or the union can contest the ballots basing on scenarios like questions surrounding whether the employees’ jobs allow them to vote, or illegible signatures. These ballots will be taken into the count only when the final margin is low.

These outcomes came in days after Amazon was accused of its drivers peeing in the water bottles during their duties. Though the company initially denied these claims, it later issued an apology through a blog post and acknowledged the issue saying that it is trying to find a solution for it. These allegations came in as a suggestion from US Representative Mark Pocan through his Twitter handle.

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