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Amazon workers in Alabama reject offer to unionize, vote tally shows

By
Don Johnson
The union has said it will challenge the vote by alleging that Amazon interfered with the rights of workers to vote in a free and fair election. File Photo by Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE
The union has said it will challenge the vote by alleging that Amazon "interfered" with the rights of workers to vote in a free and fair election. File Photo by Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE

April 9 (UPI) -- Amazon workers at an Alabama warehouse have rejected a proposal that they unionize, a considerable victory for a retail giant that was facing the prospect of seeing its first workers in the United States fold into a labor union.

Of 3,200 ballots cast by mail over the past several weeks, about 1,800 opposed joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, compared to fewer than 800 in favor. About 5,800 workers at the Bessemer, Ala., Amazon facility were eligible to vote.

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A few hundred remaining ballots were challenged but won't be counted because they aren't enough to affect the outcome. Ballots could be contested for illegible signatures or questions about whether employees were eligible to vote.

The election result still needs to be formally certified by the National Labor Relations Board.

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Union supporters needed a simple majority to win the election.

The RWDSU has said it will challenge the vote by filing unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, alleging that Amazon "interfered" with the rights of Bessemer workers to vote in a free and fair election.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement that Amazon "left no stone unturned in its efforts to gaslight its own employees."

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"We won't let Amazon's lies, deception and illegal activities go unchallenged, which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by Amazon during the union vote," he added.

Amazon did not immediately comment on the outcome of the vote Friday.

Workers had seven weeks to vote by mail, which ended March 29. The NLRB chose mail-in ballots based on COVID-19 levels in Bessemer in January.

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The Bessemer warehouse opened a year ago and is Amazon's first distribution center in Alabama. Workers started organizing toward a union vote in August.

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