Amazon workers in Alabama vote against unionization | Business and economic news


In a major victory for online retail giant Amazon, workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama voted against forming a union, according to an unofficial vote count.

In a major victory for online retail giant Amazon, workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama voted against forming a union, according to an unofficial vote count.

More than 1,800 votes against unionization have already been cast, blocking the necessary 1,608 votes the union needed to be successful.

The count continues and an official announcement of the result is still pending from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The Bessemer, Alabama vote drew national and international attention and it was the first time since 2014 that workers at the online sales giant have attempted to organize in the United States.

Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the United States and has come under heavy criticism in recent years for its treatment of warehouse workers in the United States and abroad.

Joshua Freeman, emeritus professor of labor history at Queens College at the City University of New York, said the union defeat could act as a deterrent to other potential efforts to organize warehouse workers.

“It was a pretty big loss, losing more than 2 to 1. That must leave a lot of union supporters unhappy,” Freeman told Al Jazeera. “Most unions don’t run in a union election unless they have a big enough base to think they’re headed in the right direction. And either a lot of opinions changed or the union misunderstood the situation when it ran for office.

Of the approximately 5,800 ballots that were mailed in early February, 3,215 in total were returned to the NLRB regional office in Atlanta.

Ahead of the public count, which began on Thursday, each ballot was first reviewed by representatives from Amazon and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union (RWDSU).

According to the Reuters news agency, around 500 of them were initially challenged on a range of issues, including suspected tampering and voter eligibility.

The RWDSU said in a press release on Friday that it is contesting the results of the vote with the NLRB, claiming that Amazon illegally interfered “with the protected right of employees to engage in union activity.”

“We demand a full investigation into Amazon’s corrupt behavior in this election,” RWSU Chairman Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement.





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