Amazon workers in Bessemer push to unionize—election results too close to call

IMG 6477 Amazon workers in Bessemer push to unionize—election results too close to call
A look inside the Amazon Warehouse in Bessemer. (Bham Now)

For years, Amazon employees across the nation have attempted to form a union, with no success. The Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, AL has garnered national attention for its tense ongoing election.

According to CNBC, more than 2,300 ballots were cast in the union election at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse. Voting closed on Friday, March 25th. Keep reading for what we know about the results so far.

UPDATE 4/1: Amazon workers at the Staten Island, New York warehouse have voted to unionize. Read Amazon’s official statement, here.

Too close to call

Votes for the union election at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse have officially been counted, and the results leave us with few answers.

According to NPR, there were 993 “no” votes and 875 “yes” votes, but more than 400 contested ballots remain. We still have to wait and see if the remaining contested ballots will be opened and counted.

Out of the 6,100 workers eligible to vote in the election, about 39% cast their ballot.

This year’s do-over election comes after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found Amazon had improperly interfered in last year’s election.

If successful, the Bessemer warehouse would be the first union in Amazon history.

What’s next?

Reports vary on whether or not Amazon will once again stave off attempts of unionization from their workers.

CNBC predicts that Amazon workers in Alabama have rejected the union for the second time, however, due to the contested ballots, they reveal there is still a chance for a union:

“The number of challenged ballots is greater than the union’s deficit which means Amazon could still lose its lead. The NLRB will hold a hearing in the coming weeks to decide whether the challenged ballots will be opened and counted.

The RWDSU [Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union] is likely to contest the election results. It’s already filed objections with the NLRB over Amazon’s conduct during the do-over election, including the company’s use of captive audience meetings. In the lead up to the election, Bessemer employees were required to sit through weekly meetings with anti-union presentations from Amazon.”

Annie Palmer, via CNBC article

NPR reports that while voter turnout was smaller than last year’s election, there’s more support for unions this time around.

“Turnout in this year’s vote was down from last year when over half of eligible voters cast ballots. But among those who actually voted this time around, there was greater support for the union. Last year, workers voted more than 2-to-1 against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a well-established national union.”

Andrea Hsu, via NPR article

We’ll have to wait to see the final decision in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York is facing a similar election. As of early results released on Thursday morning, a majority of votes are currently pro-union. UPDATE: Amazon workers at the Staten Island, New York warehouse have voted to unionize. Amazon made an official statement regarding the election results:

“We’re disappointed with the outcome of the election in Staten Island because we believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees. We’re evaluating our options, including filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence by the NLRB that we and others (including the National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce) witnessed in this election.”

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Gabby Gervais
Gabby Gervais
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