At today’s Amazon union election rally in Bessemer, Alabama, votes were 993 to 875 in favor. So far, this has been a positive outcome for Amazon, which has managed to put workforce organization on hold at its fulfillment centers for its entire 27th anniversary. However, margins are significantly lower than last year’s election results, when retailers, wholesalers and department stores successfully recalculated, citing multiple concerns about Amazon’s practices.
Today’s results are also not so dry. In addition to the 59 invalid ballots, 416 are currently listed as “problematic”. Because this number may be the same as for a yes vote, a hearing will be held to determine whether ballots should be added to the final result. The nature of the problems is currently unclear. Each party could object to the inclusion for different reasons.
RWDSU noted in a statement provided by gaming-updates:
Every vote must be counted. Amazon employees are facing an unnecessarily long and aggressive fight to consolidate their jobs, with Amazon doing everything it can to stop the spread of misinformation and deception. We will hold Amazon accountable and object to their conduct. The perseverance and courage of these workers never wavered in this unnecessarily lengthy process. Employees will have to wait a bit for their voices to be heard, and our union will be with them every step of the way to ensure that their voices are heard in accordance with the law. What we know is that this moment is historic, and workers in Bessemer, Alabama have inspired workers across the country and around the world to fight for change in their workplaces, including other Amazon organizations across the country. This fight is the spark of the labor movement of the 21st century, and we know it will forever change how Americans view unions in this country. These union elections continue to show that the best way for workers to protect themselves and their families is to join a union.
The date of the hearings has not yet been set, but most likely they will take place in the coming weeks.
Like last year’s original election, today’s results are being watched closely by both Amazon and the union. Amazon fought the union’s efforts furiously, fearing that the RWDSU foothold might come into play. After the union’s initial victory, Starbucks led union action across the country. This is a sign of changing attitudes towards labor rights, especially among workers who are considered essential workers during the pandemic.
The nearly two-month mail-in Bessemer vote tally matches the results of another JFK8 implementation center on Staten Island Drive, New York. There, the number of “yes” votes increased from 1518 to 1154. Today’s count is over and will resume tomorrow at 9:30 am.
Like the Alabama election, JFK8’s union efforts have faced major opposition from Amazon. In February, former organizer-turned-organizer Christian Smalls was one of three people arrested on rape charges. Smalls denied the accusations, telling the media that they were only meant for the workers’ lunch.
Earlier today, CNBC reported that Amazon had hired Global Strategy Group, a company with close ties to the Democratic Party, to fight the union’s efforts.